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Ladoja fights back ... says I didn’t divert N2bn LG fund

Posted by Yusuf Alli, Dotun Oladipo, Akin Oyedele and Ademola Oni on 2006/01/11 | Views: 383 |

Ladoja fights back ... says I didn’t divert N2bn LG fund


The embattled Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja, on Tuesday said he did not divert the controversial N1.99billion meant for the 33 local governments in the state.

The embattled Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja, on Tuesday said he did not divert the controversial N1.99billion meant for the 33 local governments in the state.

Ladoja’s defence was contained in a public response to some of the 14 allegations levelled against him by 18 of the 32 members of the Oyo State House of Assembly.

In the response, signed by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Governor, Prince Ade Adekanmbi, the governor also said he had ceased to be a director of the defunct Standard Trust Bank.

He said he was never a signatory to the account in the former STB where the fund was lodged.

The 18 lawmakers had accused the governor of diverting the local government allocation from the Excess Crude Oil Reserve into his account in STB in contravention of paragraph 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.

They also alleged that Ladoja had remained a director of STB contrary to paragraph 2B of the Fifth Schedule of the constitution.

The governor’s counsel, Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN), had on Monday urged the impeachment panel to give his client ample time to file his defence.

The panel, however, only gave the governor’s counsel a grace of 90 minutes to respond to the 14 allegations.

As at 6.15pm on Monday, the panel had not received the governor’s defence.

But in what appeared to be a public response to some of the allegations, Ladoja took exception to the claim that he diverted the N1.99billion.

The response read, “That Account was opened by the Oyo State Government vide letter Ref: SJLG/AGC/02/01, dated 27 June 2003 and signed by the then Accountant-General of Oyo State, J.O. Otunla, in the name of the State Joint Local Government Statutory Allocation Account whilst the letter stated the signatories to the said account as: Mr. J.O. Otunla, (Accountant General of Oyo State); Mr. Ademola Oyadeji, (Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government); and Mr. Hosea Ayoola Agboola, (Commissioner for local Government and Chieftaincy Matters).

“It is worthy to note that the Oyo State Government has been doing business with STB/UBA bank prior to the current administration.

“We further note that all the accrued deposit on the account is paid into an “Interest on fixed deposit” account nos. 00849378602106 and which today has accrued an interest income of N22,228,997.45 to the local governments.

“Shortly before assumption of office his Excellency ceased to be a director of the bank. In further proof we shall request that the honourable panel issue a subpoena testificandum on the Company Secretary/Legal adviser of the bank.

“The account being referred to belong to the State Joint Local Government Statutory Allocation Account and not a personal account of the governor of Oyo State and to which he is not a signatory.

“It is to this account that all sums received from the Federation account in favour of all the 33 Local Governments in the state are directly paid by the Federal Government. Also 10 per cent of the Internal Generated Revenue of the state being the statutory apportionment to the local government areas is also paid into the said account.

“All sums so stated above are distributed by an allocation committee comprising: all the 33 local government chairmen; Auditor-General for the Local Governments; Accountant-General of the State; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government; Commissioner for Local Government and lately the representative of the Federal Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission; and the representative of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

“The sums received from the Federation Account as Excess Crude Oil Allocation for the months of April and May 2005 were duly paid into this account and distributed aforesaid by the above stated committee and in concurrence with the local government chairmen.

“The presumption of profit by bank is the basis of accepting deposit and the operation of current accounts and payment of dividend to shareholders of any such institution is clearly the basis of investment and done in the ordinary cause of business all over the world.

“As His Excellency has no role to play in the determination of this function and clearly cannot be accused of misconduct simply because he invested in the bank from its inception.”

On the operation of a foreign bank account, the response said, “The allegation had been investigated by the Code of Conduct Bureau and found unsubstantiated. For the avoidance of doubt His Excellency stated that he opened the account well over 20 years ago and has since closed same on assumption of office.”

In spite of the defence, three governors and Ladoja on Tuesday met with President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The governors were those of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu; and Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.

Oyinlola, who has been in the forefront of moves to resolve the face-off, was said to be the first to arrive after the host governor, Daniel, who had been with the President since morning.

Ladoja reportedly arrived for the meeting at 4.10pm while Agagu joined at 4.30pm.

Obasanjo was said to have left in company with Daniel for his Ota Farm at 5.30pm while Oyinlola, Agagu and Ladoja remained behind for further discussion.

The meeting was said to have ended at 6.10 pm.

The details of the discussion were under wraps at press time.

Meanwhile, Ladoja and Adedibu stayed away from the Ibadan Central Praying Ground, Agodi, venue of the Eid-el-Kabir prayers on Tuesday.

While an aide to Ladoja claimed that his boss prayed inside the Government House, our correspondents learnt that Adedibu had his at a plot of land close to the old Ibadan tollgate.

The Chief Imam of Ibadan, Alhaji Busari Suara, had last week told them to stay away from the praying ground, if they would not guarantee peace.

The PUNCH, Wednesday, January 11, 2006

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.