The Asset Recovery Committee of the Osun State Government says it has uncovered 55 more vehicles worth N1.5 billion which ex-officials allegedly exited with at the end of the previous administration of former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
This comes barely 24 hours after a first batch of vehicles valued at about N2.9 billion in possession of Oyetola, his deputy, wife and other top officials were released to the public.
In response, Media Director of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun, Kola Olabisi, in a statement, said the former governor and his deputy were entitled to “certain privileges.” He added that apart from the vehicles their offices permits them to take home, they never took any other item.
But the recovery committee, in an official statement by its Chairman, Dr Bashiru Salami, on Saturday, issued a new directive for the retrieval of another batch of vehicles numbering 55 with an estimated value of N1.5 billion. “We have uncovered another batch of diverted vehicles numbering 55. Those in possession of those vehicles should return them forthwith,” he said.
It listed the vehicle models to include the following: Kia Sportage (40), Toyota Hilux, Prado Jeeps, Toyota Avensis, Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Transit (7), among others.
According to the panel, the ex-officials holding the affected vehicles include Oyetola’s commissioners and special advisers, head of service, and chief executives of some government agencies.
These categories of ex-officials are directed to return the vehicles in their possession before the administration trigger repossession operations, the committee chairman insisted.
Meanwhile, the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed shock and indignation over the APC’s response to the initial order of retrieval.
According to the State Caretaker Chairman, PDP, Dr Akindele Adekunle, there is no law in Osun books that empowers a governor and his cohorts to “bolt away” with state vehicles.
“It is embarrassing reading the opposition citing a fake law when in reality there is no state or federal law that supports such brazen act of diversion. By openly admitting such diversion of public properties to private use, the ex-officials are culpable before the law.
“We submit that a tradition of ex-officials going away with their official vehicles is a corruption-ridden custom which is not known before the law. Using a supposed tradition to divert almost N4 billion (worth of) vehicles for private use is reprehensible and unacceptable.
“We commend the administration of Governor Ademola Adeleke for issuing (a) retrieval directive through the Chairman of the Assets Recovery Committee. Osun people expect nothing but that the ex-officials return the vehicles as urgently as possible,” he said.