Politics

PDP, Ondo Government spar over recovered N4.3bn

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo and the state government have disagreed over the recovered 4.3 billion naira.

The Ondo state government, on Thursday, revealed how the money which was stashed in a secret account was discovered.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, said that the secret account was discovered by the Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Wale Akinterinwa.

Ojogo explained that the money has been stashed in the bank account of a third-generation bank for over ten years.

However, in its reaction, the opposition party said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should investigate the state government, alleging that the new recovery is suspicious.

This was contained in a statement issued by its Director of Media and Publicity, Zadok Akintoye, on Friday.

“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,” he said.

It added that the Honorable Commissioner for Information lied when he alleged that the state discovered the funds hidden in an account with the bank.

“The domiciled funds which were deposited in a call account were 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 it 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,” Akintoye stated.

The party also queried the initial amount deposited into that call account, who managed the account on behalf of the government and how the funds were spent.

The PDP, who questioned the interest accrued within the 10 years, said, “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?”

In its analysis, the PDP said the money would have accrued extra 10 billion naira at the interest rate of 15% per annum.

“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?”

The State Commissioner for information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, has, however, described the call by the PDP as usual 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. The government has nothing to hide.

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 the 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. The same has also reflected in the records of the State for proper accountability and transparency, ” he said.

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