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Ekiti govt, Fayemi trade words on alleged misuse of N853m SUBEB funds




EKITI State Government and the Minister of Solid Minerals Development who was governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, yesterday exchanged tirades over the alleged misappropriation of N852.9 million State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) counterpart-funding.

The state government said that the misuse of the funds made the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) to blacklist Ekiti making it impossible for it to access 2013, 2014 and 2015 matching grant running to over N2.8 billion.

The state government accused Fayemi of withdrawing the money for another purpose after lodging it into UBEC account, but Fayemi said it was the bank that provided the loan that withdrew it after Governor Ayodele Fayose told all banks’ executives after June 2014 election that he would not honour loans by the out-going government.

However, the state government had quoted UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr. Yakubu Gambo, who appeared before Senate Committee on Finance’s Budget Defence last Wednesday to have said that “Dr. Fayemi, who is now the Minister of Solid Minerals used the N852.9 million counterpart funds dedicated for education by the Federal Government through the UBEC for other purposes.”

But the Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, in his reaction said it is rather unfortunate that the Ayo Fayose administration would, in its characteristic infantile and crude manner, falsify discussions that took place on the floor of the National Assembly, all in the bid to justify its ineptitude.

According to him: “Whereas the UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr. Yakubu Gambo, was at the Senate, he did not accuse the immediate past administration led by Dr. Kayode Fayemi of misappropriation of UBEC funds.

Rather, Gambo gave details of development that led to UBEC’s decision to sanction the state.

He said, among others: “The immediate past government had taken a loan from a bank to be able to make available its counterpart funding to access the UBEC fund. But the bank withdrew its money when the government lost the 2014 governorship election for fear that the incoming government might not honour the terms of repayment.

“So, the sitting government that took the loan from the bank to provide the counterpart to access what is in the coffers of the Federal Government lost an election. And the bank decided that the state had not met up the requirement for pay back. And so as not to have problem with the incoming government, they decided to withdraw their money.”

Also speaking on the matter, SUBEB Chairman, Senator Bode Ola, said it was painful that Ekiti State and its people were suffering for the sin committed by the APC government of Fayemi, adding that “it is even more embarrassing and ridiculous that Fayemi’s Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Kolawole, could defend this clear criminal act perpetrated against the people of Ekiti State by saying there was no law forbidding states from borrowing counterpart funds to support states capital development operations.”

Speaking further, the SUBEB Chairman said: “Our Governor, Ayodele Fayose responded to UBEC letter on the illegal withdrawal on April 22, 2015, stating that the illegal withdrawal was carried out by Fayemi’s administration. He also pleaded with UBEC to rescind its decision to suspend Ekiti State from accessing FGN-UBE Intervention Fund while allowing him to investigate the matter.

“Consequent upon the governor’s directive, a five-man panel headed by the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaiye, was set up and the panel established the withdrawal of the N852, 936,713.92 from SUBEB account domiciled at Access Bank, Ado-Ekiti branch consequent upon which Ekiti State was suspended from accessing FGN-UBE fund and also went further to involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the matter if the fund was not returned.

“Report of the panel has been forwarded to UBEC.”

While describing Fayemi’s justification of the illegal withdrawal as ridiculous, Senator Bode Ola said: “Even UBEC, in its letter said the withdrawal constitutes a serious financial crime and also violates Section 11(2) of the UBE Act, 2004.”

But Oyebode said: “Fayose’s reckless utterances and primitive approach to governance should be blamed for the UBEC’s sanction.”

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