The Ondo State House of Assembly has commenced investigation into the source of the N4.3bn allegedly discovered in a secret bank account by the state government.
The money was said to have been deposited into Zenith Bank account by one of the past administrations.
The money said to have been in the said account for over 10 years was allegedly withdrawn and spent by the Rotimi Akeredolu administration without informing the Assembly.
The legislators have summoned the Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa, and Accountant General of the state, Laolu Akindolire, to appear before them on Thursday to explain how the money was found and withdrawn by the executive without their approval.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Bamidele Oloyeloogun, directed Akinterinwa and Akindolire to come with all documents relating to the transactions and the accrued interest.
Akinterinwa pledged to comply with the instructions.
Speaking after Friday’s plenary, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Acounts, Ademola Edamisan, said the matter would be thoroughly investigated.
The lawmaker, who represents Irele Constituency, said since the money was in a fixed account for over 10 year, the assembly was interested in the accrued interest.
He said, “They (executive) claimed they have recovered N4.3bn from the money but the committee is keenly interested in the actual interest generated for over 10 years and we requested comprehensive details of the account.
“The committee is interested in full details of how the account has been operated over the years, who authorised the opening of the account, who are the signatories and when was the account opened.
“We hope the commissioner and the AG will come out with comprehensive details of the account, so we will be able to calculate the cost running interest so far in the account.
“The committee discovered after a thorough investigation that the said money had been transferred from the initial account in Zenith Bank to another six different state government bank accounts in less than five months from February to June 2018.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Donald Ojogo, said in a statement that efforts were made to take a comprehensive inventory of all assets and liabilities of government.
Ojogo said Akinterinwa, through his vigilance and financial intelligence, discovered the alleged secret account.
He said, “The invitation of the finance commissioner by the House of Assembly and indeed, same extended to both the Accountant General and Auditor General are in line with the government’s desire to make as transparent as possible, the management of our commonwealth in Ondo State.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party in the state has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the Akeredolu government over the money.
In statement by the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Zadok Akintoye, on Friday, said the All Progressives Congress administration in Ondo was not sincere by allegedly withdrawing the money secretly.
The opposition party said, “ It has become very important that the Ondo State Government be investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over its lack of disclosure on the alleged N4.3bn ‘discovered’ to have been kept in a Zenith Bank account and to which the government claimed to have also spent.
“An Investigation by our party has shown that the Akeredolu administration 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 commissioner for information lied when he alleged that the government discovered the money hidden in an account with the bank. The domiciled fund which was deposited in a call account was disclosed to the Akeredolu government which consequently took over the bank account.
“What is however worrisome is that the Ondo State Government never disclosed the said fund 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 fund was 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 the 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.”
The PDP commended the Assembly for setting 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”