NO FUND WAS MISSING, FORMER OPIC MD INSISTS AS OGHA ASKS HIM TO RE-APPEAR NOVEMBER 25TH - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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NO FUND WAS MISSING, FORMER OPIC MD INSISTS AS OGHA ASKS HIM TO RE-APPEAR NOVEMBER 25TH

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Former Managing Director of the Ogun State Property and Investments Corporation OPIC Barr. Babajide Odusolu  has appeared before the Ogun State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts as more facts emerged as records were put in place to correct the wrong information in circulation. 

The Committee  Chaired by Hon. Musefiu Lamidi for the second time took on the former Managing Director of the State Property and Investments Corporation (OPIC) Barr. Jide Odusolu, in continuation of the consideration of the financial reports  of the Corporation between  2015 and 2019.


The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Musefiu Lamidi, his Vice, Hon. Bashir and other lawmakers  questioned the OPIC Finance Team and the  former MD on why over N40m could not be accounted for in the construction expenses of the MITROS Residence, Ibara, which was carried out during the period under review. 

Responding, the Director of finance and administration stated that some of the funds disbursed were cash receipts from the State Government. 

Speaking on same theme, the Former MD explained that due to urgent nature of the project which was executed using direct labour working on 24 hour shifts, a lot of material expenses and labour costs were paid on site. 

The committee demanded that the OPIC finance team send them details of the recipients of such cash disbursements.

The committee further challenged the Corporation for the rationale behind disposing off 8hectares of landed property cut from a larger 15.8 hectare land which OPIC bought from the Bureau of Lands for over N515m at Isheri at a heavily discounted price of N164m barely ten days before the expiration of the last administration in May, 2019.

The former MD responding stated that the sale was a protracted negotiation with the investors who built Sango Shoprite Mall and the decision to sell the property for the highly discounted price was taken by the then Governor - Senator Ibikunle Amosun in recognition of the other investments in the State by the anchor investor.


Acknowledging the submission of audited financial statement for 2018-2019 and the management letter on the financial statement by the Corporation in response to the previous meeting held with Odusolu on October 13th 2020; the House  Committee decried the manner in which the former MD spent the total sum of N881m on the construction and procurement of equipment for the MITROS Residence at Ibara without the approval of the State House of Assembly, while the Committee members also requested for clarifications on the role of the OPIC Board in the running of OPIC as well as the process of the project execution.


Responding, the Former MD clarified and submitted the OPIC Law which showed that the MD of OPIC reported directly to the Governor as the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation. Speaking on the issue of non-budgetary approval, the former MD stated that all expenditure on Mitros was with the express written approval of the then governor, copies of the relevant approvals were tendered to the Committee.


The Committee futher averred that with regards to MITROS, the Corporation did not keep fixed assets registers, likewise the non-availability of cash book and bank reconciliation statements on demand to external auditors, who equally noticed that from sample of daily cash schedule,  cash received were not fully lodged.


The Former MD who made it clear that the exit audit meeting for the 2018 accounts occurred after he had resigned from office, however demonstrated that the information claimed was not factual.


Further clarifying, the OPIC finance team.confirmed that a register indeed existed for MITROS assets.


The Committee insisted that the infractions the lawmakers pointed out were in contravention of the Appropriation Laws for the period, as well as in contrast to the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the State Financial Regulations, which equally mandated the keeping of up-to-date fixed assets register by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.    


Subsequently, the lawmakers requested OPIC to provide logs including land sales, properties, lease/rent amongst others with specifications of their respective location, sizes, type of building and cost facilities external to the building such as access roads and paving amongst others which was to be submitted on or before Wednesday, November 11th, 2020.


The Committee however directed Barr. Jide Odusolu to re-appear on Wednesday, 25th November, 2020


Responding to other related questions, the former MD stated that the housing projects at Isheri had been completed to  shell levels, a position challenged by the lawmakers with pictorial evidence, which again made the Former MD to confirm that the pictures  related strictly to units sold as-is and one block of two bed units with outstanding external works 


 

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