How N4bn In ‘Secret' Ondo Government Account Was Uncovered, The Illegal Transactions Carried Out Without Authorisation
A document seen by SaharaReporters has revealed how the sum of over N4.3bn stashed in a ‘secret' account by the Ondo State Government was discovered after 10 years with various transactions carried out on it without due process.
The document revealed that the consultants engaged by the Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue uncovered the account during an auditing of all government finances.
It was learnt that the money in the account was fixed in Zenith Bank, Alagbaka, Akure branch in the state capital.
SaharaReporters gathered that some transactions were carried out on the account through transfer into other accounts in different banks, which belongs to the state government for the purpose of yielding huge interest.
In another document seen by SaharaReporters, the state's Account-General, Mr Akindolire; Director of Treasury Service, Mr Akinsanmi, and Director of Management Services, Akinnagbe, signed the memo to transfer the recovered money from Zenith Bank to three other banks.
The state government, it was discovered, secretly transferred funds to its expenditure accounts and dedicated reserve accounts using the auto pay platform.
The other banks where money from the 'secret' account was transferred into include Providus Bank (Account: 1300167925, N1bn), Zenith Bank (Account: 1011087392, N1bn, N300,000, 000, N600,000,000, and N100,000, 000), Wema Bank (Account: 0122786341, N2bn), First Bank (Account: 2029142288, N250,000,000).
The discovery of the 'secret' account was made public by members of the House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts, who raised the issue on the floor of the parliament following a probe.
One of the lawmakers, who spoke with SaharaReporters under the condition of anonymity on Friday, said the government had been hiding the statements of the financial transactions on the bank account.
According to him, the lawmakers had already invited the state's Account-General over the matter with a view to knowing the real source of the funds and the exact date the money was lodged in the 'secret' account including the interest that had generated from it in the last 10 years.
He said, “They are telling us the money in the account was discovered around February or March 2018 and they failed to disclosed the account then, is that not corruption?
“In fact, from our findings it showed that they were running the account even after its discovery, so who were these people running the account for the state government and collecting the interest.
“And now they are claiming the money had been spent to pay salaries or execute some projects in the state, so we all need to know how they spent it because I am yet to see where it was appropriated.”
The Ondo State Government had on Wednesday said that the account was uncovered through the vigilance of the state's Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa, a position rejected by the lawmakers.
Commissioner for Information in the state, Donald Ojogo, claimed that the money in the account had been ploughed into the revenue account of government and reflected in the records of the state.
Reacting to the development, the Peoples Democratic Party in the state has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the state government over the issue.
The party accused the government of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of being economic with the truth concerning the discovery of the money.