Alleged fraud: No money was missing under my watch Ex-OPIC MD
Former Managing Director of the Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), Barrister Babajide Odusolu, has debunked allegations by the State House of Assembly that a sum of N2.5billion was missing under his watch, the Assembly is only demarketing the State.
Odusolu, who has threatened to challenge the allegation in a court of law, the Estate Developer said the allegations were false in its entirety, alleging that the Assembly lack proper accounting knowledge.
He said the Assembly through its committee on Public Account arrogated the job of forensic experts to itself, leading to errors in its assignment.
The Ogun Assembly, Friday, passed a resolution indicting Odusolu over an alleged missing fund, asking anti-graft agencies to probe and recover into the State’s coffers, a balance of N2,579,771,717.71.
The lawmakers further directed Odusolu to return a sum of N40million to the purse of the state government within six months.
While addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Odusolu stated he was only a victim of political vendetta and victimisation that has nothing to do with him.
According to him, he had consulted his successor, who told him no that money was missing at OPIC.
“My successor said no money was missing. There is no money missing in OPIC. I challenge the management of OPIC, the Ogun State government and the assembly to provide evidence that money is missing or that my my principal, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun diverted the money,” he said.
Speaking on the alleged unaccounted N2.5b, he clarified that, “The accounting processes, policies and standards are predefined, and this allegation is false in its entirety. No money is missing and a formal forensic audit will confirm that fact.”
On the N40million the Assembly asked him to return, the former OPIC MD explained that “the expenses were typically incurred as part of the running costs for managing OPIC projects located in several satellite towns of the state.”
Odusolu related that he had told the Assembly during an invitation that “these monies were used to provide cash stipends for staff and artisans working on those sites,” especially during the construction of Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia and the accelerated construction of MITROS residences.
He mentioned that the Chairman of the committee, Musefiu Lamidi, was conversant with the procedures as a Special Adviser assigned by the former Governor Ibikunle Amosun at the time to supervise OPIC team working in Ipokia during the construction of the polytechnic.
In his reaction to what the lawmakers tagged ‘881.5m unbudgeted expenditure’, he disclosed that “the sum was spent on the construction of of Mitros residences on the approval of the state executive council. The edifice was constructed within an accelerated period in 2017.”
Odusolu described as laughable, the resolution of the House recommending a retroactive legislative approval for the construction of the hotel, “or in the alternative, a refund of the amount spent on its construction by me in my personal capacity.”
Odusolu also replied that the 8.2 hectares of land sold to Rainerhill at Isheri was approved by the state executive council to Persians Group, the the promoter of Shoprite to construct a mall.
He added that the land was a marshy area and it was offered at a discounted rate of approximately N20.5million per hectare as against the actual rate of N30million per hectare.
“Under the arrangement with the government, Persians Group was to construct a small each in Ota (which has been completed), Abeokuta, Isheri, Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode,” he stated.
The real estate developer spoke on the five-star hotel in Ikeja, accusing the committee of bias.
He stressed that fund expended on the hotel was invested before the Amosun administration came on board, stressing that, “The documentation costs were simply carried forward on OPIC’s accounts and until the project is consummated and/or written off, it will continue to reflect in the records of OPIC.”
While rolling out his achievements as the MD of the Corporation, Odusolu said the accounting policies operated by his administration did not create any room for the sort of laxity or ‘mischief being alleged by this Committee.’