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‘How suspended Oredo LG boss withdrew N34.7m in two weeks’

By  Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—THE Justice Godfrey Edokpaiyi Commission of Inquiry set up by Edo State government to look into the accounts of the suspended Oredo local government council chairman, Mr. Mike Ehima, was yesterday told how he withdrew N34.7million between November 20 and December 5, 2008, from the Local Government excess crude account despite the directive from the state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who froze the excess crude accounts of the 18 local government governments in the state.

The commission also heard how the suspended chairman awarded contract for the construction of four health centres at Ward 2 in the council to Ella Consults, belonging to his wife, to execute.

The four health centres, which cost N64 million, are under the Federal Government’s supported Millennium Development Goals Programme (MDG).

Already, N44 million was said to have been paid for the projects which was described as poorly executed and was not tendered for.

Leader of the legislative arm of the council, Mr. Foster Iyangbe, while testifying before the commission yesterday, alleged that the suspended chairman claimed to have spent N24 million for the construction of Oredo Margistrate Court building along Sapele road, against the N11million appropriated for the same project.

He also revealed that Mr. Ehima also claimed to have spent the sum of N22 million on public health care programme in the council, against N10 million appropriated by the legislative arm of the council, even as he added that over 90 per cent of the alleged programmes never took place in the council.

On the construction of Lagos street in Benin metropolis, the House leader alleged that the contract, which was put at N65.1million with specification that the existing drainage must be demolished and a new one constructed, was poorly executed.

He told the commission that instead of the contractor handling the project to construct a new one, he started to evacuate the refuse at N26 million, adding that the council chairman went ahead to issue a certificate of completion to him.

Also testifying before the commission, the councilor  representing Ward 11, Mr Hope Uwumarogie, disclosed how the suspended chairman on September 1, 2008, withdrew  N360 million from the Local Government excess crude oil account with Oceanic Bank.

He said he deposited N160million with Finbank along Mission Road, with accounts number 310430000028701, adding  that after series of investigations, the legislative arm discovered that N119.7million was paid into Finbank along Sakpoba road under the name Esteem Account.

“This is an Interest yielding account and was not made known to the legislative arm. We do not know the position of that money or whether it has been spent or not. We do not know its where about” he stated.
Hearing continues today.


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