As the Federal Government of Nigeria keep on with the N-Power programme, the Focal Person of the Benue State Social Investment Programme (BSSIP), Conrad Utaan, on Wednesday appeared in a Makurdi High Court, for misappropriating N195. 6million belonging to the scheme.
Concise News reports that the State Attorney General’s office, through Douglas Pepe, in an ex-parte application, told the court that the accused, while serving as the head of NSIP in Benue, contravened section 185 (b) of the Criminal Code Procedure.
He alleged that the state government conducted a forensic audit of the funds under the Social Investment Programme in the state and discovered that Utaan along with Nicolas Suakor the former Accountant of NSIP now at large, misappropriated the amount.
The counsel alleged that Utaan and Suakor on November 23, 2016 and April 19, 2018 connived and diverted funds for their personal use which was punishable under section 97 of the penal code Laws of Benue.
He also disclosed that at various dates, the accused together with his accomplice on the run, connived to withdraw N12.7 million from N360 million meant for the purchase of cooking utensils for vendors under the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, which they converted N5million for other purposes.
He said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 316 and 310 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue.
Pepe also alleged that between October 2017 and March 2018 the accused over deducted money from the food vendors in Benue to the tune of N113.3 million meant for loan repayment to be remitted into the coffers of the Benue government.
He said the N113, 3 million over deductions were diverted into SSIP account numbers: 0067386995 and 0061392253, which the accused were signatories to and jointly withdrew the sum of N94, 3 million for their personal use contrary to section 316 of the penal Code Laws of Benue.
He also averred that between November 10, 2017 and November 13, 2017, the accused deducted illegally from food vendors the sum of N37.1 million and deposited same into the state BSSIP account Number: 0061392253 where they are signatories and subsequently withdrew N37.1 million an act punishable under section 316 of the Penal Code Laws.
He also chronicled various other illegal transactions made by the accused for personal use, using different Benue Social Investment account numbers where they were signatories to.
The accused were also charged with forgery involving invoices and payment lists with signatures to retire fictitious monies to justify illegal expenditures which amounted to N30 million.
The counsel said such of fences were in contravention of Section 367 of the Penal Code Laws.
The court could not take the pleadings from the accused owing to the absence of the second accused, Nicholas Suakor, in court.
The prosecuting counsel claimed the accused was evading service, however,
counsel to the first accused Utaan, promised to assist the court to serve the second accused.
The Judge, Justice Thersa Igoche, admitted the accused to bail on the condition that his counsel would undertake to produce him in court on September 26.
Igoche, therefore, adjourned the case until September 26 for further mention.