The People’s Democratic Party has accused officials in Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s government of stealing public funds. Mr Akeredolu’s administration denied any theft of state funds, describing the accusation as laughable.
Mr Akeredolu has yet to return to Ondo more than three months after his return from an overseas medical trip.
PDP chair in Ondo, Fatai Adams, made the allegation while addressing journalists in Akure.
“Most disturbing, however, is that our finances are suffering as hard-earned resources of the state are being pilfered by interest groups within and outside government; this is to the detriment of our development and wellbeing,” Mr Adams said.
The opposition chieftain said the PDP was duty-bound to be concerned about the state’s resources and finances, citing the palliative fund “totalling N7 billion.”
“For the past years that Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has been governor, not once has any financial update been given to the citizenry. Curious and inexplicable expenditure has been the order of the day,” stated the PDP chief. “Therefore, we demand a balance sheet on the finances of our state.”
According to him, when the PDP was in government, the party gave a monthly update on the state’s finances, sometimes at the end of every financial year.
“The issue of the palliative fund totalling N7 billion is of absolute concern and interest to the people of Ondo state, who readily declare that no palliative came their way and therefore seek answers to the administration of the fund,” Mr Adams said.
He added, “Government is hereby invited to render an account of how this money is spent immediately or cause actions to be taken to unravel the many debauchery that was perpetrated in the name of palliatives in our state.”
However, information commissioner Bamidele Olateju-Ademola said, “It’s laughable if the opposition party is saying this stuff.”
The commissioner told Peoples Gazette that the Akeredolu government “has checks and balances, especially in approving state funds.”
“For instance, I have a limit to the amount I can approve as a commissioner in the state,” Ms Olateju-Ademola said. “I can’t approve any amount above N1 million, and anything above that would have to get the governor’s approval before it can go.”
She said, “Even the governor can’t approve any amount beyond N20 million, and anything above that will have to pass through the state council. It gets approval if they all agree.”
The commissioner explained that the approval would go through stages, pointing out that it would involve the commissioner for finance before going to the state accountant general’s office.
“So, how can such pilfering happen with these checks in the system?” Ms Olateju-Ademola said.