The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has quizzed three top management staff of the Ifedore Local Council Area of Ondo State over the alleged embezzlement of a N60 million- fund from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SUPE-P) meant to execute some capital projects in its area of operation.
The trio are: Mr. Taiwo Aladesuyi, Head of the Works Department; Mrs. Dare Alao Olubunmi, the Director of Local Government Administration; and Mrs. O. Fatogun, the LGA’s former Head of Personnel Management.
SaharaReporters learnt authoritatively that the SUPE-P fund was diverted into personal accounts and siphoned with the aid of the immediate past chairman of the local government, Mr. Akinsola Adu and some other members of staff members of the council.
An impeccable source close to the EFCC confirmed to our correspondent at the weekend that the three staff have confessed to how the funds were spent.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said as follows:
“The three of them were quizzed by the EFCC last week and they made confessional statements about what they knew on the SURE-P funds released to Ifedore local government which [were] diverted into personal accounts and [spent].
“The Head of Works Department in the local government (Taiwo Aladesuyi) whose main account with the Wema Bank was used in diverting and siphoning the SURE-P fund and he has about twelve different account numbers with different banks linked through his BVN.
He further disclosed that Mr. Aladesuyi was formally detained at the EFCC office in Ibadan but was later released after meeting conditions which included a surety. He will however continue to visit the EFCC pending the end of the investigation.
According to him, the EFCC requested the bank statements of the local government officials from their respective banks as part of the investigation and the documents showed how the money was transferred.
“Their mobile phone numbers were used in tracking their BVN in the various banks where it showed that the SURE-P fund was actually diverted into personal pockets and also embezzled.
“He further told our correspondent that the EFCC had already gathered enough evidence against the LG officers while some purported projects the local government claimed to have executed with the money were given to cronies and the prices overblown.
A female staff in the local government confirmed the arrest and quizzing of the three officials but declined further comment when contacted by SaharaReporters.
“Yes, the three of them were invited by the EFCC to Ibadan for questioning and I learned the head of works department was detained for few days but was later released after meeting their condition for bail. That’s the only information I have,” she said. It was gathered that the anti-graft agency also wrote to the current caretaker chairman of the Ifedore Local Government, Dipo Ajibola, who provided the agency with documents relating to projects that were purportedly executed by the local council.
SaharaReporters learned that the arrest of the local government staff members was a follow-up to a discreet investigation, as well as a petition written to the Ibadan office of the EFCC.
Preliminary investigation, we learnt, had revealed how N60m was disbursed to the Ifedore Local Government to execute some capital projects, but was allegedly embezzled.
A document obtained by SaharaReporters showed that the fund was released through a circular letter with Ref No: CMG. 782/122, sent to the local council area by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Ondo State under the former governor Olusegun Mimiko.
The document showed that the N60m fund was released on the 13th of October 2016 through the immediate past chairman of the local government, Sola Adu, but was secretly diverted into the personal account of Mr. Aladesuyi at Wema Bank.