The Ondo State House of Assembly says it will do everything within its constitutional power to unravel the circumstances surrounding the stashing of a sum of 4.3 billion naira in a secret account in a third generation bank.
Further revelations concerning the fund came to the fore at plenary on Thursday when the Chairman House Committee on Public Acounts, Honourable Edamisan Ademola reeled out the list of banks which at various times benefitted from the alleged secret transactions.
Honourable Edamisan challenged the competence of the Accountant General for failing to produce necessary documents bearing the transactions and the accrued interest to date.
He maintained that if the statements of financial transactions in the listed banks were not supplied as requested, the House would be forced to take necessary steps as entrenched in the Constitution.
Among other details, the House sought to know the source of the fund, the date the money was lodged into the alleged secret account, the person who authorised the lodging and the accrued interest to date.
The House equally wanted to know how the money which members claimed was not appropriated was spent.
Responding, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa pledged to provide the necessary documents as requested by the House.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Oleyelogun Bamidele David mandated the Commissioner and the Accountant General to furnish the House with documents on the alleged secret transactions on Thursday 21st May, 2020.
The issue of the 4.3 billion naira stashed in a secret bank account was earlier raised at plenary on Tuesday by the Chairman, Public Acounts Committee, Honourable Edamisan Ademola, following an audit query from the office of the State Auditor General.
The Finance Commissioner claimed he facilitated the recovery of the money kept in a secret account over ten years ago.
The House has vowed to get to the root of the secret transactions in the interest of transparency and accountability, as elected representatives of the people.
Also summoned to the House plenary on Thursday were the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan and the Chairman of ONDIPA Mr Boye Oyewunmi.
The House inquired from the Commissioner while the impact of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) has not been felt by the people even when the state government has paid a couterpart fund of five hundred million naira.
Members equally requested to know the modalities adopted for the uneven allocation of the twenty four NEWMAP projects among communities in the state especially the delay in the execution of the projects
Chairman, House Committee on Environment Honourable Success Torkhuerijo frowned at a situation where twenty four projects were slated for execution in selected communities at the expense of those facing serious ecological challenges.
Also speaking, Honourable Sunday Olajide, Akure South Constituency ll condemned delay in documentation for world bank projects which he noted delimit accruing benefits from such projects.
He equally advocated that all constituencies in the state must be covered by the NEWMAP projects adding that the relevant Committee of the House must be carried along as representatives of the people.
Responding, the Commissioner for Environment assuaged the feeling of the Lawmakers.
According to him every Constituency of the state will benefit from the world bank projects being executed in phases.
The Speaker, Rt Honourable Oleyelogun Bamidele David who charged the Commissioner to always involve the House in his ministry’s activities directed him to appear with the list of all earmarked project sites on Tuesday 26th May, 2020.
In the same vein, ONDIPA Chàirman, Boye Oyewunmi was directed to furnish the House with documents on property of government in Abuja and Lagos on Tuesday, 21st May, 2020.
In the meantime, the House has drawn the attention of government to the plight of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
In a motion sponsored by Chairman House Committee on Natural Resources, Hon. Tomide Akinrogunde, he outlined the importance of the Natural Resources Ministry to the economy of the state.
Akinrogunde lauded the visionary leadership of Pa Adekunle Ajasin for laying the foundation for a viable natural resources sub- sector of the economy.
He however noted the dwindling fortune of the sub-sector due to poor staffing and neglect.
Akinrogunde stressed the need to support government through legislation to reposition the natural resources sub-sector in the interest of the state and the people.
To do this, the Natural Resources Committee Chairman stressed the need to checkmate encroachment into state forest reserves, procure motorcycles and operational vehicles for proper monitoring of the forest reserves.
Akinrogunde emphasised the need to upgrade and rehabilitate rural roads to facilitate movement of goods from rural to urban communities.
Other Co-Sponsors of the motion stressed the need to urgently address the dwindling human resource in the sub-sector by employing new hands to monitor the state forest reserves.
They added that effective monitoring of security posts must be carried out to check leakages while efforts should be geared at regeneration of old species in the forest reserves and rural communities should be developed to check rural urban drift.
Responding, the Rt Honourable Speaker commended the Sponsor and Co Sponsors of the motion for doing a good job.
He stressed the need for government to urgently commence recruitment of produce and forest officers as a way to reposition the natural resources sub-sector for greater productivity.
The Speaker equally stressed the need to procure motorcycles and operational vehicles to facilitate the monitoring of the state forest reserves while renovation of forest facilities must be given urgent attention.
Oleyelogun maintained that a conducive operational environment must be provided to enhance effective monitoring of control posts across the state adding that political will must be mustered to ensure reclamation and regeneration of the state’s forest reserves through policy statements to enhance valuable relationship among all sectors of the state economy.
The motion was thereafter put into voice votes and supported by members.
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