The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday detained Ekiti State Commissioner for Finance Chief Toyin Ojo and the state’s Accountant-General Mrs Yemi Owolabi, over alleged misuse of N7billion bailout funds.
The arrest of the officials followed security reports on how the state government allegedly misused the bailout funds, especially the first tranche.
A source said yesterday: “They were picked up on Thursday in Abuja following their refusal to honour previous invitations for interrogation in relation to pending investigation on the misuse of bailout funds by the Ayodele Fayose administration.
“The affected officials are being interrogated by a team of detectives on how the state government allegedly diverted overN7billion.”
The Fayose Administration has been under probe for the diversion of the bail out since November 2016 but the state government refused to cooperate with the anti-graft agency and the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration.
The Senate Committee wrote to some states including Ekiti on November 3, 2016 to account for how they spent their bailout funds.
But the Ekiti State Government, through its Attorney-General claimed that the Senate could not ask it to account for its share of bailout funds.
In a letter to the committee, the state said: “It is incontrovertible that the duty of oversight of government’s financial activities by the legislative arm in Nigeria is a constitutional matter and the diligent performance of this duty in a time like this, when our nation is in economic recession, cannot be overemphasized.
“We therefore appreciate the intentions and aspirations of the National Assembly in the above regard, which, we have no doubt, are aimed at ensuring fiscal discipline, financial integrity, accountability and probity of government and its relevant agencies at all levels.
“However, we respectfully wish to observe that we are constrained, as a state government bound by the principles of federalism and the rule of law, to accede to your proposal to exercise oversight powers over the disbursement of the bailout granted to Ekiti State by the Federal Government because it is legally and constitutionally outside the powers of the Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“In this regard, we wish to draw your attention to the clear provisions of Sections 121, 122, 123, 124, 125 and 125 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which vests the powers of oversight functions in respect of states’ finances exclusively in the respective state Houses of Assembly.”