Alleged financial impropriety rocks Lagos Country Club
A major crisis may engulf the Lagos Country Club (LCC), following allegations of financial impropriety, violation of the club’s Constitution and corporate governance ethics within the rank of its management council.
LCC is a premier family club, with membership drawn from “individuals of good character resident within 80 kilometres radius of its premises.”
A petition by the Social Secretary, Adewole Folarin, to the club’s chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) last November, obtained by The Guardian, alleged that the President, Tajudeen Akande, Vice President Igho Okor and Secretary-General, Ayokunle Jimoh had, during the club’s 70th anniversary, mismanaged funds in excess of millions of naira, breached due process in contract awards and violated the club’s Constitution.
Consequently, concerned stakeholders called on the BOT to urgently intervene, by investigating all allegations, meting out appropriate sanctions and restoring the club’s dignity.
The petitioner claimed that as of November last year, the President had disbursed in excess of N8.5m above the N26m approved budget for the 70th Anniversary Committee, without approval, in gross violation of the club’s approved financial guidelines.
The petition also stated that a part of the contract for the club’s external remodelling, valued at over N100m, was awarded without recourse to due process.
These are besides allegations of insider abuse of awarding contracts to self and proxies against the Vice President, Okor, in violation of Oath of Office, and failure to inaugurate statutory and ad hoc committees for the proper running of the club by the Secretary-General.
The Trustees, in a bid to address the issue, had, in a letter to the Club Secretary-General in November, co-signed by its Chairman, Aare Kola Oyefeso and Secretary, Chief Allan Williams, acknowledged yet another petition and sought the Management Council’s response to the allegations, while directing all parties to maintain status quo, pending its resolution.
Akande, however, explained that though the expenditure for the anniversary exceeded the approved N26m, the excess spending was N6m above the budget.
Asked if there was approval for the excess spending, in accordance with the club’s constitution, the President could not answer in the affirmative. “The extra-budgetary spending was discussed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Akande has threatened to sue Folarin, the petitioner, to the tune of N50 million if he does not retract the allegations in his petition.
When contacted, Folarin declined to comment, saying that the issue was already before the Board of Trustees.
However, club members are unhappy that the BOT had been dithering on the matter. A prominent member – a life member – who spoke with The Guardian on condition of anonymity, said members were dissatisfied with how the case had dragged without resolution, causing deep-seated ill-feeling amongst the executive and many members. The life member also said the body of Life Members had also sued the Club for infringing on their electoral rights.
He stressed that the situation was more worrisome because the current leadership of the club’s management council is alleged to have severally violated corporate governance codes while also disregarding directives from the BOT.
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