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By Olamilekan Jaji
The former Special Adviser and Managing Director of Ogun state Property and Investment Corporation, OPIC, Babajide Odusolu have denied various allegation by the Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-Corruption under the chairmanship of Hon. Musefiu Lamidi which considered the State Auditor General’s Report on the Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC) between 2015 and 2019.
In a press conference few hours ago, Odusolu said it was a clear and brazen abuse of legislative privilege and by so doing, the Committee has done incalculable damage to his reputation and by extension demarketing OPIC and Ogun state.
He said, “during the course of the interaction with the said House Committee, I provided clarifications on all issues handled by me as the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, while referring all technical audit and accounting queries to the DFA, who was present to address them.”
Odusolu added that, “Allegation of unaccounted N40M Expenditure Claim in Year 2019, the House directed a refund of the sum of N40 Million on the ground that it was unaccounted for. At the appearance before the committee, the DFA of OPIC explained OPIC’s accounting procedure to the committee.
We fully demonstrated that such expenses were typically incurred as part of the running costs for managing OPIC projects located in several satellite towns of the State. We further explained that these monies were used to provide cash stipends for staff and artisans working on those sites; provide basic site amenities and cover other ongoing site expenses. This imprest systemallowed the men at site to work without undue delay. The DFA and Director of Projects subsequently provided the breakdown of the N40 Million expenditure which the committee chose to totally ignore in its report.
To further illustrate this strategy, the chairman (House Committee on Public Finance), Honourable Musefiu Lamidi was conversant with theseprocedures, as he was a Special Adviser under the Senator Amosun led administration and he was assigned to supervise the OPIC team working in Ipokia during the construction of the Polytechnic in the Local Government.Similarly, during the accelerated construction of MITROS Residences which occurred within a sixty (60) day window, the entire State Executive Council were witnesses as we (OPIC) deployed several labour teams and artisans on twenty-four shifts delivering materials and finishing tasks. This could only be done, using an on-site imprest which was collected and signed for by the workers. This labour-intensive approach enabled us meet tough targets throughout my tenure”.
Responding to possible financial fracture during his period in office, Odusolu said, “We operated under intense scrutiny with a principal, His Excellency Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who is a seasoned Chartered Accountant, two commissioners of finance, who were also Chartered Accountants; and independently appointed auditors, who were not accountable or reporting to us.
Furthermore, the structure of OPIC and its clear accounting policies did not create any room for the sort of laxity or mischief being alleged by this Committee.
OPIC is a statutory corporation with legal personality, attempting to hold me liable without any proven infractions directly attributable to me or obfuscating facts is a deplorable act, a clear and brazen abuse of legislative privilege and by so doing, the Committee has done incalculable damage to my reputation and by extension demarketing OPIC and Ogun state.”