Former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Ali Olanusi has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) asking that the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko should be investigated for massive diversion and embezzlement of public funds.
Olanusi, was impeached by the House of Assembly of the state in April, shortly after defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former deputy governor, who is in court challenging the constitutionality of his impeachment, in a petition to the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Larmode, is urging the agency to open full investigation into the finances of Ondo State under Mimiko.
He said some projects, such as the residency card scheme, otherwise known as Kaadi Igbeayo, were fraudulent.
According to him, while many families were finding it difficult to make ends meet, “this notorious project which started six years ago has gulped N6 billion of public funds and it is yet to take off.”
He said the probe would uncover many shady activities of the government, including extra-budgetary spending and dubious bank loans.
“For instance, the national conference, a lavishly sponsored Federal Government project, gulped a whooping sum of N113, 285,000 of the state’s resources,” he said.
According to him, apart from massive corruption and looting through various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), “there exists a conduit pipe located in Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Ministry of Finance and State House of Assembly from where the Governor of Ondo State siphoned N18.05 billion and diverted it into the private pockets of his cronies and collaborators using non-existing projects and empowerment programmes without any budgetary provisions or applications of due process.”
According to the petitioner, several months after these acts of embezzlement, there emerged a forged and falsified document dated June 27, 2014, and titled “OSOPADEC 2014 APPROPRIATION LAW” bearing the signatures of the Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Jumoke Akindele; the Clerk of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Adeyelu Michael Bode and the governor (Mimiko).
He said it was shocking and heart rendering to discover that the document was never introduced, debated, defended or passed into law by Assembly.
Olanusi called on the EFCC to investigate and appropriately summon and prosecute all persons involved in the manufacturing of this illegal and deadly weapon which had been used to cause financial harm and deprivation to the people of the state, especially the oil producing communities.
“The vulnerability and helplessness of the State House of Assembly could be seen from the way and manner the honourable members struggled for the share of the N900 million largesse extended to the House by the Governor sometimes ago”, he said, urging “indigenes and patriotic Nigerians to beam a searchlight” on the activities of the governor.”
Olanusi equally alleged that N80 billion debts and borrowing have pushed the state into stagnation, thereby urging the people, including civil servants, “to gird their loins.”
The way forward, he added, was for the people to propose a closure to the “corruption of the government” and insist on the “recovery of the stolen and looted funds.”
The former deputy governor noted that his warnings and advice to the governor delayed the drift, stressing that the administration regressed into a gale of forgery and falsification of financial records and documents when he stopped listening to his wise counsels.
Reacting, Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, described Olanusi’s allegations as baseless, and wondered why the EFCC was not being allowed to investigate the petition.
He said: “The EFCC is an agency of government with the statutory responsibility of investigating corrupt allegations. Instead of jumping the gun, Olanusi should allow the agency do its job, except he is telling the world that the agency is not competent or reliable enough to handle his petitions without any bias.
“The Ondo State Government wonders if Olanusi’s expectation is that the graft agency should ride like an invading army, arresting and detaining everybody in Ondo State on account of his petitions.
“We hope he is not suggesting that the EFCC should become an appendage of his new party and a tool in the hands of the ruling government to threaten the opposition.