Peter Duru – Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, said on Monday he would not shield any of his appointees accused of corruption from investigation and prosecution.
The governor said he would not hinder justice from taking its course in any of such cases.
Ortom also insisted that his absolute belief in the tenets of rule of law would remain his guiding principle as governor of the state.
The governor, who spoke through a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, was reacting to the arraignment of his Principal Private Secretary, Mr. Steven Amase and a former Commissioner for Works in the state, Mr. Emmanuel Manger, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for allegedly manipulating the award of a N4.8billion road project in the state.
The duo were arraigned before Justice Samuel Itodo of the state High Court, Makurdi, last Friday.
The governor said he would continue to align himself with the principles of due process and rule of law, adding that anytime any of his aides was accused of any fraudulent act he would not shield such person from investigation and prosecution.
Ortom said: “The allegation is a mere accusation and the onus lies on the accuser to prove the same beyond all reasonable doubts. And for emphasis, none of my appointees has been convicted since the inception of my administration.
“It is also normal in law that if any anti-graft agency accuses anyone of a corrupt act, it is left to that person to avail himself and defend the allegations because a person is presumed innocent until found guilty and convicted by the courts.”