By Dayo Johnson
THE two vexed issues of operation of secret accounts and debt of N117b inherited by the present administration in Ondo State reverberated in the State House of Assembly yesterday as the Lawmakers asked the governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko to give more details about the debt.
At its plenary sitting, the Lawmakers passed a motion asking the governor â€œto tell the people of the state the details of the N117 billion debts allegedly left by the immediate past administration in the state.
The Lawmakersâ€™ call for details of the vexed issues is the second in the last one week as the opposition party (PDP) through its State Chairman, Dr Tayo Dairo had described the governorâ€™s allegation as bundles of lies and propaganda.
Dr Dairo queried that â€œif the governor received N82billion for six years how come the present administration is accusing him of leaving a debt of N117bâ€
However, the House of Assembly enjoined the governor â€œto give the component of the alleged debt so that the people could know exactly on which projects or items they were incurred.
Moving the motion, the Deputy speaker, Mr. Mayowa Akinfolarin called on the governor â€œto make public the details of the debt by so doing it would enable the house to be better informed over the controversy surrounding the stateâ€™s finances.
Akinfolarin noted that the governor â€œshould have addressed the assembly on the issue before facing the entire state with his August 10, 2009 broadcast to the people.
The Minority Leader, Mr. Dayo Akinsoyinu who seconded the motion asked the governor to make available to the house copies of the address that was read to the people of the state.
While ruling on the motion, the Speaker, Mr. Taofiq Abdulsalam, said it was necessary for the governor to inform the people of the state on the detail of the alleged debt.
Abdulsalam said the house as an arm of government and as the representatives of the people was interested in the components of the debt to enable it ascertain the level of complicity of those involved.
Meanwhile, the Ethics and Public Accounts Committee of the house probing the secret accounts yesterday ordered the Accountant General of the State, Mrs. Folake Ogunnika and managers of three commercial banks ( FCMB, Skye and Zenith) to appear before it tomorrow following new discovery and some discrepancies in the submission of the state government and the banks.
The new order became imperative following discrepancies in the presentation of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Toyin Akinkuotu and the representatives of the First City Monument Bank, Akure on the details of the accounts operated by one of the aides of the immediate past governor Bode Obolo..
Akinkuotu, who represented the commissioner for finance, Mr. Wale Akinterinwa yesterday insisted that the controversial account denied by the representative of Skye Bank at the last sitting was true.
He told the committee that Obolo actually operated the account single-handedly contrary to the claims of the bank.
The Chairman of the committee Niyi Adebusuyi said all the parties to the transaction should collate all documents relating to the accounts since it was opened and appear before the committee tomorrow.
The Commissioners representative and the FCMB official disagreed on the actual year that Obolo opened the secret account.
Akinkuotu told the committee that the FCMB official was economic with the truth and that the bank has a â€œlot to hide as regards the operation of the secret account by Oboloâ€
According to him the bank presented two conflicting statement of accounts and the mandate was signed by Obolo without any date
But the FCMB official fired back that Obolo was not in the office as at year 2004 and that the statement is the same and does not need to have a date.
Akinkuotu said the FCMB had informed the state government that Obolo operated other secret accounts and that government is still investigating the allegation.
At this point, a member of the committee Thompson Atikase said that the Permanent secretary in the Finance Ministry was compounding the issues and queried why he did not disclose the new findings when officials of the bank was present at the last sitting.
The Chairman Adebusuyi thereafter ruled that the committee would get to the root of the fraud and directed all the parties to reconcile all the accounts operated in their banks and return to the tomorrow with all transactions on the accounts since they were opened.