Ondo Assembly Passes N14bn OSOPADEC Budget

Ondo Assembly Passes N14bn OSOPADEC Budget
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The Ondo State House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the 2017 budget of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) into law.

The passage folowed the submission and consideration of the report of the joint committees on finance and appropriation, as well as OSOPADEC on the floor of the House.

The House Committee on Finance and Appropriation is chaired by Honourable Sunday Olajide while the House Committee on OSOPADEC has Honourable Malachi Coker as its Chairman.

The 2017 OSOPADEC budget has a total of fourteen billion, four hundred and two million, one hundred and ninety-five thousand, six hundred and seven naira, twenty-two kobo (14,402,195,607.22).

Out of the total budget, a sum of twelve billion, nine hundred and seventy-six million, six hundred and fifty thousand naira (12,976,650,000) was budgeted for capital expenditure while the remaining one billion, four hundred and twenty-five million, five hundred and forty-five thousand, six hundred and seven naira, twenty-two kobo (1,425,545,607.22) was appropriated for recurrent expenditure.

A breakdown of the capital estimates indicated that the sum of N10,508,450,000 was budgeted for capital projects while N1,185,000,000 was earmarked for community welfare project.

N730, 000,000 was also committed for youths and women empowerment project, just as N67,500,000 would go for legal project and N485,700,000 was provided for office capital project.

The Majority Leader of the House, Honourable Olugbenga Araoyinbo, who moved a motion for the bill to be passed into law, said the budget would ensure speedy development of OSOPADEC mandate areas.

The motion was seconded by the lawmaker representing Ese-Odo State Constituency, Honourable Obadiah Vincent.

Earlier, while submitting its report, the joint committees noted that the budget proposal was aimed at bringing more succor to the generality of the citizenry of the state in the riverine areas.

They recommended that the executive arm of government should ensure that the management team of OSOPADEC is well guided by the provisions of the budget in the course of implementation.

The committees also suggested that the ongoing projects that are near completion should be given the much-needed attention with a view to completing them as soon as possible.

They advised that the management of OSOPADEC should embark on internally generated revenue drive as provided for by relevant laws.

EFCC Allegedly Whisks Away 4 Top OSOPADEC Staff

EFCCOfficials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have allegedly whisked away four principal officers of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) including the Chairman of the commission, Pastor Johnson Ogunyemi.

The other officers whisked away are the Secretary of the commission, Dele Durojaye; the Director of Finance, Sola Orisamoluwa and the Director of Accounts, Vincent Ikuomola, a statement by the group said.

It was gathered that the officials of the anti-graft agency stormed the headquarters of the OSOPADEC located in Oba-Ile, Akure around 12 noon, locked the main gate leading to the premises before heading for the office of the chairman.

The officials of the EFCC, however, spent about three hours in the offices of the four officials of the commission before leaving with them in a coaster bus and two Hilux vans. The also took some files and documents from the offices.

Alleged Financial Mismanagement

Some staff of the commission were seen gathering in groups discussing the arrest of the principal officers.

One of the workers who requested that he should not be named, disclosed that the arrest of the OSOPADEC top officials might not be unconnected with the failure of the commission to pay students’ bursary in the last two to three years.

He also said the arrest might be traced to the financial mismanagement of the officials of the commission.

Another staff of the commission, who also did not want his identity disclosed, linked the arrest of the OSOPADEC officials to a petition by interested stakeholders, seeking explanation on the spending of the commission in the last eight years.

He said: “The commission has failed to render its financial activities to the public in the last eight years and this might be one of the petitions against the commission before the EFCC”.

He added that the reasons for EFCC invasion could be linked with the allegation that most of the projects executed by the commission were inflated.

EFCC arrests OSOPADEC boss

Mr. Debo Ajimuda, the chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged corrupt practices.

The crime fighting body had arrested the chairman at his Ijapo residence in Akure, carting away bags of useful document evidence and 13 exotic cars.

According to reports, the EFCC staff had first sought out the elusive Ajimuda at his office, but were accosted by hostile employees who refused to let them go.

Commissioner of Police for the state, Garba Mohammed, had interfered in the skirmish, however, resulting in the release of the anti-graft agents who then made their way to the chairman’s residence.

The EFCC had been investigating Ajimuda’s activities, trailing him for two weeks before making their move. Ajimuda, as well as two other officials of the commission, are wanted by the EFCC over alleged criminal diversion and embezzlement of public funds, a source disclosed.

“Ajimuda claims to have spent N61.363billion between 2001 and 2011 but this is said to be a far cry from the over N100billion received by the commission within the same period.

“The petitioners alleged that the projects claimed to have been executed by the commission were either abandoned or do not exist at all.”

Head of Media and Publicity for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the arrests, saying Ajimuda needs to “clarify some issues”, including verifying whether projects budgeted for were actually executed.

The EFCC officials had reportedly arrived at his premises at about 6 a.m. on Tuesday and upon learning of their presence, Ajimuda had taken flight, scaling the fence of his property and hiding in an uncompleted building next door.

Ajimuda’s wife had tried covering his tracks as well, telling EFCC officials that he was not at home. However, the officials refused to leave the premises and set up surveillance around the premises to ensure he did not escape.

Tired of the wait, the OSOPADEC boss, clad in boxer shorts and a white undershirt, emerged from his hiding place at about 2:30 p.m. and was taken in by the officials.

Ondo State’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade said the investigation of the EFCC was a step in the right direction, but was wary of the methods used to arrest Ajimuda.

He insisted that OSOPADEC boss should have been invited for questioning by EFCC officials first before a forceful arrest is made.

He said, “It is not proper for the anti graft agency to just invade the office and home of the OSOPADEC boss and arrest the man without any formal invitation.”

Akinmade welcomed the investigation, adding that the Commission had nothing to hide.