By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue has stated that he would not shield any of his appointees accused of corrupt practices from investigation and prosecution nor hinder justice from taking its course in any of such cases.
The maintained that his absolute belief in the tenets of rule of law would remain his guiding principle as governor of the state.
The Governor who through his Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Terver Akase was reacting to the arraignment of his Principle Private Secretary, PPS, Mr. Steven Amase and former Commissioner of Works and presently a Special Adviser on Energy, Mr Emmanuel Manger, for allegedly manipulating the award of N4.8billion road project in the state.
The duo were last Friday arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, in a Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Samuel Itodo.
Reacting to the development, the Governor in the statement said he would continue to align himself with the principles of due process and rule of law adding that anytime any of his aides were accused of any fraudulent act he would not shield them from investigation and prosecution.
According to him, “the allegation is a mere accusation and the onus lies on the accuser to prove 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 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,” he added.