Benue State Commences Investigation Into Missing 1.5b Counterpart During Ortom

By Lateef Taiwo

Benue State Government has launched investigations into Access and Agricultural Marketing Project,RAAMP, procurement under Ortorm ,
The state Government made this known over the weekend that it has commenced investigation into the 1.5billion naira released to his predecessor as counterpart funding by the immediate past administration following public outcry alleging misappropriation.

State project coordinator,RAAMP, Stephen Numbeve who disclosed this during a chat with journalists in Makurdi, said the move has become necessary to unravel the circumstances surrounding expenditure of the alleged amount, arguing that what has happened previously is not in line with the mode of operation of the office which is a joint project with the world bank, European Development, African Agricultural and the French Banks working in collaboration with the Benue State Government.

He further explained that the international partners funding the project only released funds when benefitting state provide counterpart, stating that investigations conducted had revealed that the immediate past administration actually played its role by providing 1.5 billion which his predecessor allegedly failed to to pay to the international partners a development that hindered the world bank from playing their own part by releasing more funds.

Numbeve,equally disclosed that though there was no evidence of funds released from either the World Bank or any other partner, his predecessor constructed one road in Guma and three others, one each in the three senatorial districts of the state, insisting that it became evidently clear that his predecessor did not hand over the counterpart funds provided by the state government to pursue more funds, instead used the counterpart funds released by the state to construct the roads,a development he described as sharp deviation from the mode of operation of the project.

The state project coordinator while presenting his score card within the period under review said on assumption of office having discovered the aim of RAAMP to be that of creating enabling environment for farmers through construction of rural roads for easy transportation of farm produce to markets, his office swung into action and secured funding from the European Investment Bank.

He further revealed that though funds have not been released, signing of agreements has been completed, expressing optimism that disbursement of funds would be done as soon as possible and added that already about 500 kilometers of road contract to construct about 53 roads across the state has been signed with six warehouses earmarked for construction in markets across the three senatorial districts of the state in line with the aims and objectives of the project.

He expressed optimism that as soon as funds are made available, his office would hit the ground running and appealed to Benue people to remain patient as well as sustain support for the administration to continue to provide needed dividends of democracy.


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