MEN of the Special Fraud Unit at the Force headquarters, Abuja, stormed Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Tuesday, and whisked away two cashiers of the Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) over 7billion Niara fraud.
Sources said the policemen arrived at the capital city to arrest the cashiers for refusal to provide the board financial information as requested three weeks ago.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that based on petition sent to the Force headquarters by unspecified persons, the unit had sent words to the management of the board to furnish it with financial report from 2011 to December 2015.
Chairman of the board, Reverend Philip Tachin, who confirmed this to the Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday, said men from the Force headquarters, Abuja, had paid an unscheduled visit to the board, demanding for some documents.
Tachin told the Nigerian Tribune that the police from Force headquarters visited the board to investigate its activities for four years, hence, demanded the statement of account of the board from January 2011 to 2015.
According to him, “they requested for the documents to be made available and then, left. I told the cashiers to go to the bank and get the statement of account, but they told me that the account is dormant.”
“For the umpteenth time, I instructed them to make the documents available and they failed to cooperatee. So yesterday, some police officers stormed the board and arrested them. For me, I do not have anything to hide. I will not shield anyone who is involved in any fraudulent act,” Tachin said.
Commenting on a recent indictment by the state House of Assembly that the board was operating two payrolls, he dismissed it as “outright falsehood.”
He explained that ‘‘there had been an aberration where the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs handed over payroll of teachers’ salaries to us as against the norm, where the board should have been the one giving out its payroll to the bureau.
“We discovered a lot of anomalies. There was always shortage in payment of teachers’ salaries. The house did not cross-check the facts from the board. The house committee chairman has since apologised for the mistake made,” he said.
On the award of contracts for renovation of over 700 primary schools in the state, the SUBEB boss debunked insinuations that it was awarded for political patronage, insisting that it followed due process.
“Over 200 contractors applied for the contract and the board’s due process committee scrutinised them thoroughly before they were given the contracts,” he said.