OMG: How Zenith Bank and UBA Helped Loot Benue State’s Treasury

Oct. 4, 2013

On the 8th of March, 2013 the Chairman’s brother who is the arrow head and anchor man of all illegalities in Okpokwu Local Government Council (Hon. Robert Obetta – a.k.a Chief-of-Staff) walked into Zenith Bank Plc Otukpo Branch with a total sum of N15 million which was part of an amount of N23,570,335.65 earlier withdrawn from Okpokwu LG council account No: 1007887988 domiciled in United Bank for Africa (UBA) plc, Otukpo branch by Mr. Adadu Sunday Obande, the cashier to Okpokwu Local Government council via 5 separate cheques (Cheque No. 31445995, 31445996, 31445997, 31445998 and 31445999). Knowing full well that the said N15m which was handed over to him by the cashier to the LG was well above the cash transaction threshold of Ten Million Naira stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Hon Robert Obetta succeeded in circumventing the CBN policy restriction by impersonating as one Mr. Emmanuel via the deposit slips and cleverly split the amount and distributed them into various accounts (in a characteristic manner of money laundering) which included that of the council Chairman’s private Company’s account – Rawlec Investment Limited which received the sum of N9,300,000.00 via account No. 1012636302 in Zenith Bank. Other accounts used in Zenith Bank Plc that same day bears pseudo names for the purpose of perpetrating this criminality and the review of the Bulk Teller Register who processed the transactions that day in Zenith Bank will reveal the other accounts credited.

Furthermore, on the 27th March, 2013, after given enough time-lag to wade-off any suspicion, the Cashier to Okpokwu Local Government Council one Mr. Adadu Sunday Obande on the instruction of the Council Chairman, Madam Juliana Obetta withdrew a total sum of N31,448,040.69 from Okpokwu LG council account No: 1007887988 domiciled in United Bank for Africa (UBA) plc, Otukpo branch via 5 separate cheques (Cheque No. 31446003, 31446005, 31446006, 31446007 and 31446008) out of which Mr Adadu Sunday Obande paid in a cash of N8,686,742.00 into UBA NEFT Ledger account No. NGN04412509588 for immediate electronic transfer in favour of the Council Chairman’s private company – Rawlec Investment Limited account No. 1012636302 domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc. The NEFT transferred amount from UBA Plc hit the Company’s account in Zenith Bank Plc on the 28/03/2013 i.e. after 24 hours.

In the same manner, the excess of the various monthly salary subventions sent to the Local Government council via United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc (account no. 1007887988) starting from December 2012 (i.e. N69 Million starting and some months close to N100 million), after deducting staff salaries and allowances (estimated at about N38 Million) were remitted through different styles and narrations into the council chairman’s private company’s account, Rawlec Investment Limited domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc and other commercial Banks in Nigeria instead of executing people oriented projects. Excess crude share funds, SURE-P funds and N200m MDG fund granted to only Okpokwu LG in the whole Zone C all ends up in this private account! It should be noted that the existence of the company which was incorporated with her under-aged children as directors against the registration requirement by CAMA 1990 was not disclosed in her code of conduct form submitted to the statutory authority (ICPC) Makurdi.

It should be further noted that the Council Chairman’s private company – Rawlec Investment Limited, which is located in K-City Plaza Wuse2 Abuja is merely a one-shop affair which deals in female shoes and handbags with a total employee/staff strength of only 2 sales girls and perhaps with an estimated total worth of N2m only! Hence the recent activities in the Company’s account since the assumption of office by the council chairman (N350,000,000.00 turn-over) are not justifiable by the nature of the company’s business and only qualify as stealing, laundering and re-integration of ill-gotten public money.

On the 1st of April, 2013 the Council Chairman, Hon. Juliana Obetta, her children and aged mother (her mum is the illegal/unconstitutional first lady of Okpokwu collecting salaries and impress) went on a money squandering trip to London for over 3 weeks, frolicking and junketing in a London Hotel Ranch all in the name of Summer Holiday while the people of Okpokwu Local Govt Area wallowed in poverty, negligence and utter Ignominy as to the where about of their Chairman. Neither the Local Government council legislative house was carried along by way of information regarding the Chairman’s trip abroad nor did the Vice Chairman, Mrs. Amina Audu briefed at all to act on her behalf as required by law!

Hon Juliana Obetta has however; ear-marked the individually/privately funded on-going multiple corner shops construction at Ugwu Okpoga town (funded strictly by the individual plots allottees) and other past projects executed by previous administrations as Alibi to justify the disappearance of all the money stolen.

Again, the Chairman who regards the LG council as an annexure or subsidiary of her private Company Rawlec Investment Ltd based in Abuja FCT always ensure the local govt council takes the back seat and has a knack for spending and ruling through the telephone! Hence, the monthly F & GPC meetings, peace and security meetings and other statutory meetings are not up-to-date in line with the enabling laws.

The Christmas protocol gifts by the Government in December 2012 cost the vice chairman of Okpokwu LG Mrs. Amina Audu her protocol monthly allowance of N300,000 as stipulated in her pay package since the beginning of this tenure! For daring to reject the miserable one goat, one bag of rice allocated to her office, the chairman instructed that no protocol allowance should be paid to her henceforth! Yet we do know that based on PDP zoning policy, the vice chairman represent the Edumoga district in the scheme of things and of course, the Edumogas account for the largest population and voters’ strength in Okpokwu LG.

The Okpokwu LG Council Chairman who is currently presiding over an armed robbery and crisis ridden local government area has a very poor handling of security issues under her jurisdiction as the brother Hon Robert Obetta every month short-changes the police SARS allowance of N480,000 by N180,000. That is, he pays the SARS only N300,000 and put the rest in his pocket and he also collect salaries meant for 30 casual security personnel and pay only 18 personnel while the balance ends in his pocket. Till date the January 2013 salaries of all the casual security personnel disappeared into the pocket of Hon Robert Obetta and those affected who dare to ask him are threatened with job loss through staff screening by external Auditors! No wonder secret cult killings recently claimed lives of 2 young men in Benue Polytechnic, Ugbokolo vis-à-vis daily house to house robberies, motorcycle snatchings, high tension Okpoga-Ollo border crisis, Okpoga-Ngle land crisis, Ichama-Fulani crisis and multiple Fulani cow killings while the police remain financially handicapped and demoralized. Attempts by SARS members to get the Chairman to repair their broken down patrol vehicle and also Ugbokolo Police to get the Chairman to change their patrol vehicle tires met solid brick wall! Yet the chairman could afford a lavished vacation abroad.

The IGR revenue of the Local Government is not spared as the Chairman’s brother Hon Robert Obetta who is a mere Adviser on staff matters took charge as the Chairman of revenue task force! He is either seen collecting N50,000 and above from the revenue staff right in the market arena at Ugbokolo or demanding that his UBA Plc account opened in pseudo name be credited with specific amount to enable him use his ATM card!

No activity, department, individual or desk is spared of the scavenging, intimidating and over-bearing activities of the self-styled ‘chief-of-staff’ who told those that cared to listen that he is a street man and used to be called bad names already. Apart from commercializing casual employment which saw widows and poor farmers borrowing to settle him in order to get employed by the council, he also took it upon himself to issue and sign frivolous employment letters to unsuspecting public against the embargo placed by the Benue state government by designating the victims as PAs to the chairman! Janet Onyega, Agaba Okwori and over a hundred others are all victims of this scam.

Hon Robert Obetta took over the use of the council Toyota Hilux pick up van and the vox wagen Golf car meant for the health department of the LG. Infact, for daring to question the dictator in person of Hon Robert Obetta over the use of the vehicles, the frail looking HOD for health Mr. Lawrence Ameh was unceremoniously transferred out of Okpokwu LG to war-torn Agatu LG earlier this year!

The protocol officer Mr. Joseph Igoche for refusing to improvise blank receipts in order to retire avalanche of unjustifiable spendings by both the Chairman and her ‘chief-of-staff’ mostly through the telephone, he was infamously replace with one Mr. Rogers (believed to know how to play ball)

The supervisory councilor for Education, youths and sport Hon Emmanuel Ameh (a.k.a. Pronto) is already leaking his wounds. The much dreaded ‘chief-of-staff’ deducted N30,000 out of the N200,000 approved by the council chairman to prosecute the recently concluded Hon Hassan Saleh football competition organized to promote youth empowerment in his federal constituency. Within that period, Hon Emmanuel Ameh got council approval of N3,000,000 to renovate the Okpoga township stadium but was informed by the dreaded ‘chief-of-staff’ to step aside while he the ‘chief-of-staff’ handles the renovation in the hope of enjoying the excess amount that would be left after the renovation! As at today, the renovation idea is a dead one!!

For daring to ask for his delayed monthly allowance in February, 2013, the sitting Councilor representing Ingle/Okpaile ward Hon Emmanuel Agbo-ogo on the order of the council chairman and the ‘chief-of-staff’ was beaten to a pulp by police SARS and whisk away into police detention in Okpoga (see THE SUN newspaper of February 26, 2013).

Earlier in the year, the council Chairman and his ‘chief-of-staff’ brought in external auditors to the council with the sole purpose of finding ways to save more money for their pockets. After searching fruitlessly, the auditors recommended the demotion of all staff by grade levels and steps to reduce the salary wage bill and for this they were paid a whopping sum of N1,500,000 for job well done, while the career staff and officers of the council under the leadership of NULGE chairman Comrade Adakole Ameh now lives in fear of the unknown!

Very recently, the Secretary to Okpokwu LG Council Hon Vincent Odo Tula, a veteran Banker and one of the most decorated young man in Okpokwu LG council because of his doggedness in creating Banking employment for 36 graduates from Okpokwu LG area in the past was fired from the Government for refusing to give a bribery of N1,500,000 to the dreaded Hon. Robert Obetta as a prize for the secretary position he occupied! Hon Vincent Odo Tula who the people of Okpokwu LG respect so much for mentoring 7 out of the 36 graduate Bankers up to Branch manager positions before humbly resigning (in the same manner of late Hon Ogiri Ajene becoming a councilor) to serve Hon Juliana Obetta as Secretary to the council was made an object of ridicule to the shock of his people when he reported the matter to the council chairman Hon Juliana Obetta insisting that he has evidence to prove his allegation. Instead of giving the Secretary fair hearing, Hon Juliana Obetta rather fired him for not complying with the illicit request while the chief-of-staff Hon. Robert Obetta’s power wax stronger, gaining the fear of the people for destroying a very big fish who the people before now idolizes! This last straw greatly assaults the people’s sensibility and finally dries up what was left of the reputation of the Obetta’s crooked administration.

While everyone including H.O.Ds and Schedule Officers now live in fear of the much dreaded ‘Chief-of-Staff’; Hon Robert Obetta who was appointed few months ago as an Adviser to Okpokwu LG Council on monthly salary of N40,000 by his sister Hon Juliana Obetta has recently bought a new Peugeot 407 super sedan worth Four Million Naira (N4,000,000) only and cruising with his suspected occult- member body guard all over the town in a mafia style to the awe, frustration and consternation of the now impoverished people of Okpokwu LG Area.

Needless to say that Hon Juliana Obetta has made nonsense of the 35% gender affirmative policy of the Jonathan administration, dwarf the fraudulent tendencies of the men forks and disgrace all well-meaning mothers all over the world.