N5bn fraud: Ortom lying against me to cover his nakedness, incompetence – Suswam

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The Immediate past governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suwam has accused his predecessor, Samuel Ortom of lying against him just to cover his nakedness and incompetence.

 

Suswam was reacting to a recent statement credited to Ortom in the media where he alleged that the former had towards the end of his tenure as Governor of the state, collected and siphoned the sum of N4.9 billion raised through a bond placement.

Suswam said latest allegation of Ortom against him was nothing but a bare-faced and shameless lie, which like previous ones, was targeted at tarnishing his image and that of his administration.

He said in a statement on Tuesday that, “To even think that such an allegation was made at a church service before a congregation gathered to worship God Almighty is most shocking, but then it goes to define the level of moral as well as spiritual depravity which has come to underline the character of the Ortom era in our dear state: the ‘In God We Trust’ pontificate.
“It is clearly on record that in March, 2015, owing to paucity of funds I had floated a N4.95 billion bond to fund eight ongoing and new projects.
“The projects included the construction of Oshigbudu-Obagaji 10 km Road; Oju-Obussu-Utonikan 51.48 Km Road; Taraku-Naka-Agagbe 61 kim Road; Up-grade/Rehabilitation of Daudu-Gbajimgba Road from rural raod; Construction of Wannunne-Ikpa-Igbo 36.73 Km Road; Upgrading of Water Works at Makurdi, Otukpo and Katsina-Ala, as well as some rural electrification projects and rehabilitation of township roads.
“The 16.5 per cent Fixed Rate Development Fund, also called BNS Bond II, issued by way of public offering, was approved by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March 2015.
“After deductions of the costs and expenses of the issue, which were estimated at N153,028,698 (One hundred and fifty three million, twenty eight thousand, six hundred and ninety eight naira) only, representing 3.0 per cent and the underwriting fees of N173,250,000 (One hundred and seventy three million, two hundred and fifty thousand naira) only, representing 3.50 per cent of the gross issue proceeds, the net proceeds amounting to N4,623,721302.50 were to be utilised to fund the projects.
“Subsidiaries of three banks (FBN Trustees Ltd, SKYE Trustees Ltd, and UBA Trustees Ltd) were appointed as joint trustees to manage the bond for the benefits of all parties, and three separate accounts were also opened at the Makurdi branch of UBA Plc to receive the bond proceeds.
“But as it has become his trade-mark, levelling of all manner of allegations against the person and administration of Gabriel Suswam has since May 29th, 2015, been the major project of the Ortom administration in the state.”

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