Aregbesola diverted Osun bailout funds, group insists
Posted by News Express | 16 November 2016 | 1,736 times
Following the Senate resolution to probe the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, a civil group, Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEOS) is insisting that the Governor diverted over N16 billion out of the almost N35 billion bailout fund the state received from the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2015.
The group and some pensioners under the aegis of Good Governance Support Group (GGSG) of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the state had earlier staged a protest in the state capital, Osogbo and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, calling for the investigation of financial impropriety and alleged diversion of the bailout funds by the Aregbesola government.
“The state under Aregbesola’s watch has been the reference point of bad governance out of 36 states of the federation since the present administration came on board,” the group said, stressing that the governor had put the state into what it called “economic quagmire, which made the once prosperous state not to perform her social obligation to its workforce and retirees alike.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, CSCEOS’ Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, declared that the state government under Aregbesola is less concerned about the plight of the workers and retirees which he exhibited by diverting the bailout funds meant to pay the backlogs of workers’ salaries and retirees pensions.
The group also alleged that the recent compulsory three months annual leave handed down on the Senior Officers of the State Civil Service from directorship cadre upward, was as a result of impeding financial crimes investigations by the Federal Government agencies saddled with such responsibility over alleged financial improprieties.
Meanwhile, the circular letter with reference No. SMD. 61/159 dated 2nd November, 2016 and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office, Mr. S. A Aina reads in part: “All officers who are to proceed on such leaves should be on standby in case they are needed for sensitive official assignment like preparation for 2017 budget estimates and ongoing staff screening exercise. The affected officers are to hand over to the next immediate officers to them for continuous of their official duties during their vacations.
“It has been observed that many officers in the state public service have not taken their annual vacation leaves in recent time, a development that is having deleterious psychological effect on their state of health and mental stability. It is the duty of the government to address this abnormally in the overall public interest.”
It would be recalled that the Senate had directed its Committee on State and Local Governments to proceed on investigative mission to Osun State to unravel how the Aregbesola administration spent the N35 billion bailout funds disbursed to the state for the payment of workers’ salaries and pension. The Committee is expected to arrive the state on December 7, 2016.
While welcoming all the financial crimes investigative agencies, including, the Senate Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Gumel, and his members to the state, the group urged them to ensure unbiased, credible and thorough investigation into the alleged criminal financial mismanagement of funds that accrued to the state from 2011 to 2016. They specifically referred to allegations of diversion of bailout funds leveled against Mr. Aregbesola and his co-travelers, adding that the team to should make their findings public for the sanctity of transparency and accountability.