• Joke taken too far, says Fayemi
Indicted by the judicial panel of inquiry set up by the Ekiti State Government, a former governor and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and his Finance Commissioner, Mr. Dapo Kolawole, have been barred from holding any public office in the state and Nigeria for 10 years.
The decision was part of the recommendations of the judicial commission headed by Justice Silas Oyewole as the government accepted the report of the white paper on the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the State Executive Council.
Fayemi and Kolawole were also slammed for refusing to appear before the commission even after the determination of the case challenging the inauguration of the commission of inquiry before the Ekiti State High Court.
Addressing journalists after the SEC took delivery of the report, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, said: “Their disrespect to the constituted authority and the undignified roles they played in the whole contracts saga were obviously against the interest of the state they were supposed to protect. They are banned from holding public office in Ekiti and any part of Nigeria.”
Ogunsuyi said that Ekiti State is prudent when it comes to the management of finances.
His said: “Government views accountability and probity as the hallmark of good governance. Therefore, the government decided to set up the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in line with its law enacted in 2012.
“The government viewed seriously the report and it intends to carry out all the recommendations in the report.”
Another highlight of the white paper is the government mandate to Fayemi and his Finance Commissioner to refund N2.7 billion, which was allegedly allocated for the execution of the contract for an ultra-modern market that was never executed.
The government further directed the Ministry of Justice to institute appropriate legal actions to give effect to the sanctions in the white paper.
“His Excellency, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Kolawole, should be made to account for the difference of N340 million from the N1.5 billion earmarked from the bond proceeds for the upgrade of infrastructure at Ikogosi Warm Spring, which could not be accounted for,” the white paper said.
The former governor and his Finance Commissioner are to also pay other monies running to billions of naira to the state government’s coffers.
Governor Ayodele Fayose defended the government decision on the white paper, saying that the government had done what was right.
He stated this while receiving the report of the White Paper Committee set up to consider the report of the judicial panel of inquiry into the financial transactions of the last administration between 2010 and 2014.
He said: “We are doing what is right within the ambit of the law by appointing competent people for the assignment. We must be seen to be doing the right thing and it is not wrong to ask how the finances of the state have been appropriated within a given time and we are following due process.
“The APC government could probe this and that, even if you say they are biased, what can anyone do? I am not part of the panel that sat for the inquiry, they submitted the report to me and I presented it to appropriate organ and I will do the same with this document. This is not personal in any way, we are only doing the right thing and following due process.”
Reacting to the development, Fayemi said it was a joke carried too far.
He said in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Yinka Oyebode: “While we believe it is part of the responsibilities of the state administration to look into the finances of the state at any point in time, we are also of the belief that such must be done in a very responsible manner devoid of prejudice, witch hunting and a calculated attempt to victimise a citizen.
“In this particular case, the entire process is discredited right from the beginning, as the only agenda of the panel was to rubbish Fayemi’s public service record. One is, therefore, not surprised at the recommendations of the White Paper. It only goes to confirm our initial position that the panel was compromised right from inception and targeted against Fayemi.”
He said the governor ignored the rule of law and behaved as if the court did not matter by embarking on the inquiry, contending that his actions were subjudiced.
Fayemi added: “The entire process and the character personae involved are discredited and since it is impossible to build something on nothing, legally speaking, their recommendation is not only null and void, it is ultra vires.
“It shall not stand. It is nothing but a joke taken too far, perhaps a joke of the century.”