Ekiti Assembly orders suspended council chairmen to refund N3.6bn – Independent Observers

Ekiti Assembly orders suspended council chairmen to refund N3.6bn

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By Temitope Owotoki

The Ekiti State House of Assembly has directed former chairmen of the local government, now suspended, to refund N3.6 billion to the coffers of the government being the amount unaccounted for during the period under their watch.

The directive was based on the report of its Public Accounts Committee which investigated the chairmen and their tenure at the councils and made the report available on Monday.

The House said it has discovered massive fraud in the accounts of the local government areas, during the tenure of the council chairmen, who are all members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The chairmen were suspended by the legislative arm, shortly after the assumption of office of Kayode Fayemi as Governor of Ekiti State.

The house, which had its valedictory session on Monday, would be inaugurated as the fifth Assembly by  Fayemi, on Thursday.

The Assembly also recommended that the suspended council chairmen be appropriately sanctioned.

Former Speaker, Kola Oluwawole, representing Moba Constituency 1, a member of the PDP, had appealed to the House not to go ahead with the sanctions against the chairmen, but his appeals were not accepted.

Other PDP members had also opposed the recommendation for sanctions of the chairmen, arguing that there were irregularities in the investigations.

Their arguments were however not accepted by the House.

Meanwhile, the PDP in Ekiti State has described the action of the legislature as a fraud.

It said the committee on Public Accounts did not do any investigation before arriving at its conclusions and “that they were carrying on illegality.”

“Where did they get the powers to suspend the chairmen in the first place?” asked Jackson Adebayo, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP.

“The Constitution protects the council chairmen from being removed from office before the expiration of their tenure, so they did not have the power going by the provision of the Constitution to suspend them.”

Adebayo noted that the Public Accounts Committee also did not do any thorough auditing of the accounts of the councils before reaching its conclusion.

He said the illegality, being perpetrated by the legislature and the executive arms governments in Ekiti State, would not stand.

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