The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday invited the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange, his Deputy, James Okefe, Majority Leader, Benjamin Adanyi and six (6) other members of the House over their alleged involvement in a car fraud scandal.
A source familiar with the development told SIGNAL, the Speaker and other principal officers of the House were invited to Abuja by the anti-graft Commission on Monday and were subsequently detained after hours of interrogation.
According to the source who did not want to be named, the lawmakers were interrogated on matters relating to a lump sum of N750 million which was allegedly expended on the purchase of cars and cash gift bazaar for members of the state House of Assembly.
“Trouble began when the Benue State House of Assembly procured cars selectively, only for APC members of the House of Assembly, ignoring those from the PDP. James Okefe, the Deputy Speaker, handled the contract. After they bought the cars and shared them around the APC house members, they shared the remaining funds among the house leaders. Okefe then went ahead to prepare payment vouchers covering all members including PDP members who were not included in the process. He even used fake chassis numbers of imaginary cars against names of the PDP members who were denied the cars. So someone petitioned the EFCC and they were invited for questioning and then detained after failing to give any convincing explanations on the shady car deal”, the source said.
Further checks by SIGNAL indicate that the Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom facilitated the release of the suspects from EFCC custody on Wednesday. “They were detained since Monday by the EFCC. It was until Wednesday that the state governor Ortom went to EFCC to facilitate an administrative bail for them. But they were released on the condition that they would refund the sum of N450 million back to the coffers of government”, another informed source who did not want to be named told SIGNAL.
SIGNAL contacted EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren on Friday for comments. Uwujaren declined comments stating that he was yet to be apprised with the details of the case.
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