A report of a five-man panel set up by Governor Ayo Fayose to investigate the withdrawal of N852 million 2012 UBEC/SUBEB state counterpart fund has shown that former Governor, Kayode Fayemi did not embezzle the cash as alleged by his successor.
The panel in its report dated December 3, 2015 revealed that the cash was withdrawn from the account of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) by Access Bank, Ado-Ekiti Branch because “the last (Fayemi) administration did not perfect the loan agreements by not agreed interest rate and providing Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) for the loan.”
In its findings and recommendations, the panel did not indict the ex-governor of complicity in the alleged theft of SUBEB fund.
The panel had former Chief Judge of Ekiti State who is currently the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaiye while SUBEB Chairman, Senator Bode Ola served as Secretary.
Other panel members are former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi; Accountant General, Mrs O.O. Owolabi; Deputy Director, Physical Planning Unit, SUBEB, Ehinafe Olakunle (now late), Dapo Akinyemi and B.J. Ogundare.
In its findings, the panel said: “The last administration sought for a loan facility to pay the 2012 Counterpart Fund from Access Bank Plc, Ado-Ekiti Branch. The sum of N852,936,793.12k was granted and same was lodged into SUBEB Account No: 0065385694 on the 25th November, 2013.
“The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) on 3rd January, 2014 released 2012 Matching Grant of N852,936,793.12k to SUBEB during the tenure of Dr. Kayode Fayemi-led administration.
“After following all the necessary due process, the Ekiti SUBEB awarded contracts to contractors based on the total sum of N1,705,872.24k (i.e. the matching grant and the State Counterpart Fund). The projects have been executed to about 55 per cent completion.
“In October 2014, Access Bank Plc, Ado-Ekiti Branch withdrew the loan from the SUBEB Account No: 0065385694, because the last administration did not perfect the loan agreements by not agreed interest rate and providing Irrevocable Standard Payment Order for the loan.”
The panel, in its three recommendations, said: “In view of the present financial situation of the state, the state government should specifically request/appeal to UBEC to set aside the payment of 2012 Counterpart Fund to enable Ekiti SUBEB move forward in project implementation.
“The state government should seek for special favour from UBEC and source for the 2013 Counterpart Fund of the sum of N1,030,797,297.30 so that SUBEB can access the FGN/UBEC matching grants for the period.
“The state government should henceforth perfect all loan agreements with regard to the implementation of UBEC/SUBEB projects.”
It was gathered that the bank agreed to grant the Fayemi administration the facility after the June 21, 2014 governorship election but Fayose as the governor-elect warned the bank against granting the facility.
The bank obeyed the governor-elect (Fayose) and the cash was returned to the vault in a bid to ensure a smooth business relationship with him when he takes over as governor in October of the same year.
Fayose had accused Fayemi, who is now Minister of Mines and Steel Development, of looting the funds claiming that the development had denied the state of counterpart funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to execute projects in public schools in the state an allegation denied by the ex-governor.
The House of Assembly, acting on the Executive’s complaints, summoned the minister to offer explanation on the alleged stealing of the cash which he declined on grounds that details on what happened to the funds are contained in his handover note.
The House of Assembly, after all efforts to compel Fayemi’s appearance failed, passed a resolution empowering Fayose to set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to probe the management of the state finances between October 2010 and October 2014 during the minister’s tenure as governor.
The judicial panel led by former Acting Chief Judge, Justice Silas Oyewole (retd.) has commenced the assignment of probing the tenure of Fayemi at its sitting at the Magistrate’s Section of the State Judiciary Complex.
The Oba Ajakaiye-led panel had its inaugural meeting on September 3, 2015 and concluded its assignment with the last meeting held on November 30, 2015.