Politics

Ogun House Of Assembly Probes OPIC Activities

In continuation of the consideration of the financial reports of Ogun State Property and Investments Corporation, OPIC, between 2015 and 2019, the Ogun State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-Corruption has revealed that the former Managing Director of the Corporation, OPIC, Mr. Jide Odusolu, disposed of a portion of its landed property which was purchased for over 515 Million Naira at Isheri and valued at 848 Million Naira at a giveaway price of 164 Million Naira.

It was alleged that the property was sold off barely ten days before the expiration of the last administration in May, 2019.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Musefiu Lamidi, in company of his deputy, Abdul Bashir Oladunjoye, and other committee members questioned the former MD on why over 4 Million Naira could not be accounted for in the construction expenses of the MITRO Residence, Ibara, which was carried out during the period under review. 

The House Committee decried the manner in which the former MD spent the total sum of 881 Million Naira on the construction and procurement of equipment for the MITRO Residence at Ibara without the approval of the State House of Assembly, while the Committee members also requested for clarification on the role of the OPIC Board in the running of OPIC as well as the process of the project execution.

Mr. Lamidi further confronted the MD regarding the Corporation’s inability to keep fixed assets registers, likewise the non-availability of cash book and bank reconciliation statements on demand to external auditors, who equally noticed that from samples of daily cash schedules, cash receipts were not fully lodged.

All the infractions the lawmakers pointed out were in contravention of the Appropriation Laws for the period, as well as in contrast to the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, IPSAS and the State Financial Regulations, which equally mandated the keeping of up-to-date fixed assets register by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.    

Consequently, the Committee directed Odusolu to re-appear on Wednesday, 25th November, 2020, the date he freely picked by himself as a convenient date, having taken permission to only stay for maximum of two hours for the day’s proceedings on account of ill health.

Odusulu was directed to avail the Committee of more documents and clarification on all records including projects and other transactions carried out under his watch.

Other details requested by the lawmakers included land sales, properties, lease amongst others with specifications of their respective location, sizes, type of building and cost facilities external to the building to be submitted on or before Wednesday, November 11th, 2020.

Responding, Mr Odusolu noted that though he didn’t secure the approval of the State House of Assembly for the Mitro project, he had the approval of the former Governor Ibikunle Amosun for the construction, noting that 40 Million Naira was part of funds spent in the course of the construction of the Mitro Residence. 

He claimed that the housing project at Isheri had been concluded under a shell company in construction, just as he disclosed that the law setting up the Corporation allowed the MD to report directly to the State Governor and not the Board.

Mr Odusolu assured the lawmakers that all other documents requested would be provided at the next proceeding of the House Committee.

Oluwatoyin Adegoke

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