The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited the former governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, for questioning over alleged financial crimes during his tenure as governor.
Ortom, who was a member of the G-5 governors who worked against the presidency of Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 elections, reported to the Makurdi zonal office of the EFCC on Tuesday morning.
He was accompanied by his media aide, Terver Akase, and Principal Special Assistant on Special Duties, Abraham Kwanhgu. He spent over an hour in the EFCC premises as he was interrogated by the anti-graft officials.
The EFCC is investigating Ortom over his stewardship as governor, especially the debt profile of N187.7 billion he left behind for his successor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia.
Ortom had claimed that the total income of the state during his eight years in office amounted to N734.9 billion as at April 2023, while the total debt incurred by the state within the period stood at N187.7 billion inclusive of unpaid salary, pension arrears, loans and bonds among others.
He also said that he had secured an approval of N41 billion loan and a N20 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) facility for the state, and urged the Alia administration to press for the release of the money.
However, the EFCC is not satisfied with Ortom’s explanation and has vowed to unravel the truth behind the financial transactions of his administration.
Ortom has not been charged with any offence yet, but he may face prosecution if found culpable of any financial crime by the EFCC.