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Alleged Financial Impropriety: Benue Assembly Recommends Suspension Of 23 LG Chairmen



–Wants Gov Alia To Set Up Caretaker Committees

The Benue State House of Assembly yesterday recommended the immediate suspension of the 23 Local Government Chairmen in the state for alleged misappropriation of funds.

Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Hyacinth Aondona Dajoh, gave the recommendation after a consideration of the report of the adhoc committee set to investigate the income and expenditures report forwarded to it by the Governor.

The Speaker said the suspension became imperative in order to pave the way for smooth and detailed investigation into the income and expenditures of the councils by the Assembly.

He said the House equally resolved to extend the investigation to cover the whole tenure of the local government councils from June 2015 to May 2023, saying the three months report into the finances of the councils has revealed serious infringements on the financial memorandum of local government and other extant laws governing the management of funds at the third tier of government.

Presenting the report, chairman of the adhoc committee on local governments, Hon. Peter Ipusu revealed that his committee discovered huge financial misappropriation by the 23 local government councils in the state and among other things recommended the House to pass a resolution calling on the governor to suspend all the councils in order to give way for a detailed investigation into the income and expenditures of the councils.

He drew the attention of the House to section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which he said has given the House of Assembly the right to legislate on matters concerning the local government and also authorizes the Assembly to perform oversight functions over the local government councils.

Hon. Ipusu said, the committee has mandated Governor Hyacinth Alia to go ahead and set up caretaker committees in line with the state’s local government law, and requested the state’s Commissioner of Police to ensure a seamless takeover at the 23 local government councils headquarters without any friction.

He said, “In order to conduct the review without any interference, the committee recommends the immediate suspension of executive council chairmen in all the 23 local government councils and also the legislative councils for conniving with the executive councils to mismanage public funds put in their trust.

“The council chairmen are hereby directed to hand over the affairs of the local government councils, all government properties in their possession, including official vehicles, to the DGSAs with immediate effect and proceed on suspension pending the completion of investigation into their books of accounts and other related matters”.