The Permanent Secretary of the Ondo State Local Government Pensions Board, Mr. Olipede Dare Ezekiel who was arrested by the operatives of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) in Akure, the state capital has debunked the allegation of N60million SURE-P fund misappropriation leveled against him.
Olipede was arrested last Friday over his involvement in N60million SURE-P fund misappropriation when he was a local government director in Owo Local government.
The Permanent Secretary described the allegation as as a sheer falsehood and an embarrassment to his person.
He said the allegation was maliciously sponsored by his adversaries to tarnish his image and the integrity of the state government that appointed him.
Olipede who disclosed that he was a director of local government for more than 20 years, stressed that he had never received any warning letter, not to talk of querry for wrongdoing.
The Permanent Secretary spoke with reporters in his office at Alagbaka, Akure, the state capital.
He said ” I am embarrassed about the allegation of fraud against my person. There is no iota of truth, the allegation was malicious and a calculated attempt to tarnish my Image and the reputation of the state government that appointed me into office.
“Before now, I have been Director of Local Government for over 20 years and I have never received any warning letter not to talk of querry. The issue of SURE-P fund was given to all local governments. The money came into being shortly before the 2016 gubernatorial election “.
Olipede explained that the last administration in the state dole out N60million to all the 18 local government areas of the state for capital projects.
He stressed that the said money was judiciously utilized in Owo Local government where he was a Director of administration at that time.
The Permanent Secretary alleged that some group of people had earlier written a petition against him to the EFCC and the ICPC, adding that the matter had been investigated and closed after he was found innocent.
Olipede hinted that the N60million was spent on visible projects across the length and breath of Owo local government.
“The government of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko gave each Local government N60million in October, 2016 for the execution of capital projects in all the 18 local government areas of Ondo state. In Owo local government where I was working then, the N60million was judiciously utilized.
“When a petition came, principal officers of the local government were invited to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and explaination was made satisfactorily and the case was closed.
“The same group of people wrote another petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the state government. Investigation was also conducted and no one was found guilty.
“The N60million was spent on visible projects in Owo Local government. It included the construction of over 1000 meters line drainages in the nooks and crannies of Owo local government, construction of cow market, evacuation of refuse dumps in the nooks and crannies of Owo Local government, repair of the local government faulty grader, renovation of legislative chambers and provision of furniture items, provision of furniture items to the office of the Chairman among others .
“Let me mention that, as a Director of Local Government, I am not a spending officer, my schedule covers supervision of council activities and signing of cheques. Those who actually expended the money are, the head of works department, the head of finance department and the head of environmental department.
“All the projects executed were done by direct Labour except the repair of the grader which was given to a contractor.
“In view of the above, it is a high level of mischief for anyone to have alleged me of any fraudulent activity or shady deal. The state government carried out thorough investigation about my personality and my activities before it decided to appoint me as a permanent secretary.
“The Governor declared openly and publicly too, that our appointments were based on merit, clean record, efficiency, seniority and equality “he explained.
The Permanent Secretary said the state house of Assembly, during their over sight function, had gone round to assess the projects in the 18 local government areas of the state and adjudged Owo local government as the best council where the money was judiciously utilized.
“In Fact, the House of Assembly of Ondo state in their oversight function in December last year, visited Owo local government among other local governments in the state and adjudged Owo local government as the best local government that utilized the N60million SURE-P fund judiciously.
“The allegation was from the gate of hell, it was targeted to tarnish my reputation and the integrity of the state government. It is the handiwork of my adversaries, known and unknown. God has lifted me as permanent secretary, because, a man cannot receive anything unless it is given to him from above “.
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