No money missing in OPIC, Ogun Assembly committee lacks accounting skills - Odusolu - N2.5b
Ex-Managing Director of the Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), Babajide Odusolu, has debunked the allegation by the State House of Assembly that a sum of N2.5billion was missing under his watch, saying "this allegation is false in its entirety."
Odusolu said the Ogun Assembly Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-Corruption "lacks accounting knowledge," adding that "the committee arrogated the job of forensic experts to itself," leading to errors in its assignment.
Press had reported Friday that the State Assembly of missing funds, asking anti-graft agencies to probe and recover into the State's coffers, a balance of N2,579,771,717.71.
The lawmakers also told Odusolu to return a sum of N40million to the purse of the state government within six months.
Reacting at a press conference on Tuesday, Odusolu stated that "I am a victim of a political vendetta that has nothing to do with me. I was victimised."
Odusolu said he had consulted his successor, who told him no money was missing at OPIC.
"My successor said no money was missing. There is no money missing in OPIC. I challenge the management of OPIC, the Ogun State Government and the assembly to provide evidence that money is missing or that my principal, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun diverted the money,” he said.
Speaking on the alleged unaccounted N2.5b, he clarified that, "The accounting processes, policies and standards are predefined, and this allegation is false in its entirety. No money is missing and a formal forensic audit will confirm that fact."
On the N40million the Assembly asked him to return, the Ex-OPIC MD explained that "the expenses were typically incurred as part of the running costs for managing OPIC projects located in several satellite towns of the state."
Odusolu related that he had told the Assembly during an interaction that "these monies were used to provide cash stipends for staff and artisans working on those sites," especially during the construction of Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia and the accelerated construction of Mitros residences.
He mentioned that the Chairman of the committee, Musefiu Lamidi, was conversant with the procedures as a Special Adviser assigned by Amosun at the time to supervise OPIC team working in Ipokia during the construction of the polytechnic.
In his reaction to what the lawmakers tagged ‘881.5m unbudgeted expenditure’, he disclosed that "the sum was spent on the construction of Mitros residences on the approval of the State Executive Council. The edifice was constructed within an accelerated period in 2017."
Odusolu also replied that the 8.2 hectares of land sold to Rainerhill at Isheri was approved by the state executive council to Persians Group, the promoter of Shoprite to construct a mall.
He added that the land was a marshy area and it was offered at a discounted rate of approximately N20.5million per hectare as against the actual rate of N30million per hectare.
"Under the arrangement with the government, Persians Group was to construct a mall each in Ota (which has been completed), Abeokuta, Isheri, Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode," he stated.
The real estate developer also spoke on the five-star hotel in Ikeja, accusing the committee of bias.
He stressed that the fund expended on the hotel was invested before the Amosun administration came on board, stressing that, "The documentation costs were simply carried forward on OPIC’s accounts and until the project is consummated and/or written off, it will continue to reflect in the records of OPIC."
The lawyer said he was taken aback that the House of Assembly had turned itself into judge and jury, passing judgment without adequate knowledge and information.
Meanwhile, counsel to Odusolu, Ebun Adegboruwa, who was represented by Barr. Adetunji Adedoyin, said, "we will be challenging in court, the manner adopted by the Assembly to indict our client and we will be asking for colossal damage."
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