Abeokuta-The Ogun House of Assembly has directed the state Bureau of Project Monitoring and Evaluation to submit a detailed report on all projects executed in the state under the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, from 2008 to date.
Mr Abiodun Akovoyan, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, gave the directive on Tuesday at the committee’s meeting with relevant government agencies and contractors who handled projects under the scheme.
The directive followed revelations at the meeting, which bothered on alleged diversion of funds meant for the MDGs projects by the previous administration.
Akovoyan also hinged the directive on the need to investigate allegations from the public that most of the projects claimed to have been carried out under the programme only existed on paper.
The committee learnt that N1.6 billion was paid into the Conditional Grant Scheme, CGS, account of the programme, which was executed on a 50 per cent counterpart funding between the federal and state governments.
It discovered that the state, under the previous administration, committed part of the fund to projects outside the scope of the programme.
The committee discovered that N500 million from the fund was released as loan to one of the contractors to the state, Aron Nigeria Ltd., out of which it repaid only N75 million.
It also learnt that N250 million was deposited in Fin Bank for investment purpose.
Defending the N500 million loan released to Aron, Mr Odugbemi Onakoya, the former Secretary to the state government, said that exigencies of the time necessitated the release.
He said the fund was released for the completion of a Youth Centre at Sagamu and hostel facilities at the state-owned Tai Solarin University, handled by Aron.
Onakoya said the major chunk of the fund, as at the time it was used, was deposited by the state government, adding that the Federal Government delayed in releasing its own counterpart share.
He, however, pleaded with the committee to show understanding, saying the last administration acted in the best interest of the state.
Justifying the N250 million investments with Fin Bank, Mr Kayode Sunmola, former Director-General, Budget and Planning, argued that the state, in its wisdom, decided that part of the fund should be invested, from which consultancy fees could be paid.
He said that an interest of N30 million was generated from the investment, while N200 million out of the principal had been paid back to the CGS account.
The committee further learnt that the remaining N50 million was deducted by Fin Bank to offset the N50 million that the state owed the bank.
Akovoyan, however, faulted the arguments of the two former government officials, saying no approval was given for using the fund for purposes outside the scheme.
He read the relevant portions of the programme guidelines at the meeting, declaring their actions illegal.
The meeting was called following some discoveries from the ongoing review of the 2010 Auditor’s Report of the state by the committee.
The committee had discovered from the report that some of the MDGs projects which were budgeted for in 2008 still featured in the 2010 budget.
It therefore summoned relevant agencies and the contractors to explain their roles in what it described as “failed MDGs projects” in the state.
All the 18 contractors who handled projects under the scheme were also directed at the meeting to submit details of projects they handled by Friday.