…as EFCC closes down on Ogun, Oyo, Ondo Assemblies
There is reportedly palpable fear among state legislators as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to continues to look into the finances of in Ogun, Oyo and Ondo Houses of Assembly. The anti-graft body has been looking into the financial transactions done by the leaders of the Houses of Assembly of the three states over alleged fraud. However, the development has reportedly forced speakers and other officials of the concerned legislative houses to throng the EFCC’s offices, with the development heightening anxiety in other assemblies across the country. Reports last week claimed that the EFCC placed a Post-No-Debit (PND) on the bank account of the Director of Finance and Accounts (DFA) of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mrs B. O. Ogundipe, as part of its probe into the purchase of vehicles by the Assembly.
Ogundipe was among the six officials of the Assembly earlier grilled by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the EFCC over alleged conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of public funds, and abuse of office to the tune of over N1.3 billion. Other officials interrogated were Kolawole Samuel Kayode (Director of Administration), Adeoye Olusegun Adebowale (Paymaster), Gbadebo Taiwo Temitope Tosin (Officer-in-Charge of other charges), Oyediran Foluke Felicia (former Clerk) and Muraina-Akinola Taiwo Adenike. However, Chairman State House Committee on Information, Kazeem Olayanju, debunked the reports, stating that the Assembly’s account was not frozen by the EFCC. The Speaker of the Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, said the House had nothing to hide following the petition forwarded to the EFCC against the lawmakers. “I am ready to visit the EFCC if invited. As the Speaker, I will surely answer any question relating to the contract.
We followed due process in the purchase of the vehicles in line with the laid down procedures,” Olayanju said. A former prosecutor with the Special Presidential Panel on Recovery of Public Property, Tosin Ojaomo, is said to have petitioned the anti-graft body over the N1billion vehicle contract awarded by Oyo Assembly.
A member of the Assembly, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told New Telegraph that: “There is no smoke without fire”, adding that “the investigation is largely political ahead of the 2023 election race”. While stating that the Peoples Democratic Partydominated Assembly is not disturbed about the development, the source said the chamber had nothing to hide before the anti-graft body and the people of Oyo State. Meanwhile, the EFCC has commenced investigation into the major financial transactions at the Ogun State House of Assembly over alleged financial misappropriation.
The Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, confirmed that the EFCC had written to the Assembly, asking for information on all budget appropriations and allocations of the House from May 30, 2015 to date. Also, the immediate past Speaker of the Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, said the probe of the legislature by the EFCC should only involve current legislators. Adekunbi said: “He could not be involved in issues concerning the assembly since they now have new leadership.” Speaking on the development, a former lawmaker in the Assembly said the development had sent warning signals to the state lawmakers being probed by the antigraft commission.
The ex-lawmaker, who is a legal practitioner, said the probes had a way of reshaping leadership in the assemblies, adding that, “Such searchlights will bring fresh tendencies and the leadership usually takes political steps to be in the good books of their supposed detractors within the system.”