N4.3b in Secret Account: Time for EFCC to quiz Akeredolu’s Govt —PDP

By: Ade Adeleke

The Ondo state Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to start the probing of the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led Ondo state government over its alleged lack of transparency on the controversial N4.3Billion “discovered” in a secret account kept in Zenith Bank PLC and to which the present Commissioner for Information claimed to have also been spent.

In a Press Statement signed by its state Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Zadok Akintoye and made available to SUNSHINETRUTH in Akure, Ondo PDP said investigation by it has shown that the Akeredolu-led government is being economical with the truth and has violated the law with its intentions not to disclose the receipt of such funds until it was recently being probed by the State House of Assembly.

It would be recalled that the State House of Assembly had yesterday given the state Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa; the Accountant General and the state Auditor General one week to appear before it and explain the rationale behind the controversial secret N4.3 billion naira in the Zenith bank.

The lawmakers at a plenary presided over by the speaker, Mr Bamidele Oleyelogun, said among other things requested for information as regards when the ‘secret’ account was opened, by who and interest accrued in the said ten years before the account was discovered.

Also reacting in an interview with SUNSHINETRUTH, the State Commissioner for information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo described the call by the PDP as unusual for an opposition party.

Ojogo said, “It’s an overstressed call, not unusual of any opposition party; we are not disturbed by any such call because the accounts of the state are there for all to see. Government has nothing to hide.

“Even the books of the Finance Ministry are clear in reporting the discovered fund in question.”

Below is the full text of the Ondo PDP statement;

PRESS STATEMENT

RE: ALLEGED DISCOVERY OF N4.3B UNCOVERED BY THE ONDO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

It has become very important that the APC-led Ondo State Government be investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over its lack of disclosure on the alleged N4.3B “discovered” to have been kept in a Zenith Bank account and to which the present Commissioner for Information claimed to have also been spent.

Investigation by our party has shown that the Akeredolu-led ODSG is being economical with the truth and has violated the law with its intentions not to disclose the receipt of such funds until it was recently probed by the Ondo State House of Assembly.

For the records, the Honorable Commissioner for Information lied when he alleged that the ODSG discovered the funds hidden in an account with the bank. The domiciled funds which was deposited in a call account was disclosed to the Akeredolu led government which consequently took over the bank account. What is however worrisome is that the Ondo State government never disclosed the said funds as part of the funds handed over to it as part of the assets its inherited. We must therefore ask how this fund was accounted for or captured in the records of government. If the funds were captured as revenue earned within that period, it will be criminal and illegal and an attempt to defraud the state, as such funds (if captured as part of IGR) would attract a commission payable to the tax consultants of the state. This is illegal and a criminal breach of trust on the part of the Akeredolu-led government.

We are compelled to ask the ODSG some very important questions in a bid to ensure that the criminality of the actions taken by this government is brought to book.

(1) What was the initial amount deposited into that call account on behalf of the ODSG?

(2) Who was in charge of managing the account on behalf of the ODSG?

(3) Why was there no disclosure of the account made until the ODHA inquiry?

(4) How was the fund spent?

(5) Were the projects allegedly executed with the funds catered for in the 2020 Appropriation Bill? If yes, how did the government account for the earnings from this account?

(6) Was there an attempt by the immediate past government to conceal the account as inferred in the mischievous use of words in the statement credited to the ODSG?

(7) If the funds had allegedly been saved for over 10 years, would it not be right to assume that there is an accrued interest to the credit of the state?

_10 years banking interest rate analysis_

Year 2:
4billion +15%= 4.6billion

Year3:
4.6billion+15%= 5.29billion

Year4: 5.29billion+15%=6.08335billion

Year5:
6.08335billion+15%= 6.996025billion

Year6: 6.996025billion+15%=8.04542875billion

Year7:
8.04542875 billion+15%= 9.2522430625billion

Year8:
9.2522430625 billion+15%= 10.6400795219 billion

Year9: 10.6400795219 billion+15%=12.2360914502 billion

Year 10: 12.2360914502 billion+15%=14.0715051677billion.

Let Zenith bank and Ondo government come clean on the above. Where is the 10.7billion accrued interest/earnings on fund found in Zenith bank? Can the Commissioner for Finance provide details on this?

(8) If the funds were discovered as far back as February 2018, of what purpose and intent is the “revelation” as credited to the Commissioner for Information?

(9) How was the money accounted for in the records of state? If it was accounted as revenue earned, who was the consultant paid for its receipt?

While we are of the opinion that this information was released for the purpose of mischief, it has become very pertinent that the Ondo State House of Assembly set aside party loyalty to do what it is statutory mandated to do in ensuring that public funds and resources are expended on behalf of the people according to the law.

We use this opportunity to call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to immediately investigate the allegations of misappropriation of public funds as noted in the response of the Commissioner for Information, wherein he said the funds had been spent on projects yet without such expenditure being legally appropriated.

We shall keep the public updated as we jointly work towards ensuring that government accounts for revenues collected on our behalf.

Zadok Akintoye
Director of Media and Publicity, PDP
May 15, 2020.

PDP’s CALL IS NOT UNUSUAL —ONDO GOVT

Also reacting in an interview with SUNSHINETRUTH, the State Commissioner for information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo described the call by the PDP as unusual for an opposition party.

Ojogo said, “It’s an overstressed call, not unusual of any opposition party; we are not disturbed by any such call because the accounts of the state are there for all to see. Government has nothing to hide.

“Even the books of the Finance Ministry are clear in reporting the discovered fund in question.”

The information Commissioner also
said it was through the transparency principle of the state government led by Akeredolu that led to the discovery of the #4.3billion in a secret account opened by the administration of Olusegun Mimiko ten years ago.

Ojogo said, “the Ondo State Government wishes to put the records in respect of the above subject matter. We recall that at inception of this administration, concerted efforts were made to take a comprehensive inventory of all assets and liabilities of Government which include liquidity status.

“This exercise, modestly conducted without the usual noise, was aimed at avoiding sensationalization and needless acrimony. In this regard, all development partners of the Government, including Banks rendered highly commendable forms of assistance.

“In his vigilance through discrete financial intelligence, the Hon Commissioner for Finance was able to stumble on the account in question and deposited fund promptly reported. Same has also reflected in the records of the State for proper accountability and transparency.

“It should be noted that neither the Finance Commissioner nor the Accountant-General was in his present position as at when the said account was opened more than ten years ago.

“The invitation of the Finance Commissioner by the House of Assembly and indeed, same extended to both the State Accountant-General and the Auditor-General are in line with Government’s desire to make as transparent as possible, the management of our commonwealth in Ondo State,” Ojogo explained.

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