By: Lawal Jamiu
The immediate past Managing Director of the Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation, Barr. Jide Odusolu has again been invited to appear before the Ogun State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-corruption on the 25 infractions against him by the audit reports during his tenure of office for further engagements on Monday 9th November, 2020.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, who made the announcement; said that the former Managing Director needed to come along with all necessary documents relating to all transactions on investments, housing projects and other fixed assets.
It would be recalled that the lawmakers had on Tuesday, 13th of October, engaged Odusolu for about six hours, expressing displeasure on the manner he ran the Corporation given the 25 infractions as outlined in the audited accounts of the Corporation between 2015 and 2019.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, Hon.Musefiu Lamidi, the Corporation merged the cost of lands and buildings which contravened the provisions of the accounting standard, while the five Star Hotel, Ikeja under it did not have any physical existence but only on paper and the sum of N45, 025, 064.00 was spent to obtain title documents on the landed property, just as the premium of non-current assets for 2015- 2016 were not paid as and when due.
Lamidi also noted that the Corporation under Odusolu was just updating its fixed assests register as at the period of the audit exercise, while the “depreciation policy of 20% on computer equipment did not reflect the volatility on computer technology”; hence may have led to the understatement of depreciation amount in the financial statements, the Committee classified some housing projects meant for sales like “Orange Valley, MTR, OPIC Estate and others as Stock in Trade”.
The Committee further disclosed that the rental income of OPIC Plaza, Ikeja was not made available for examination during the 2016 audit exercise, with no traceable records of interactions between the Agbara Estate and the billing section of the Corporation on the reconciliation of rent income generated.
Condemning the operations of twenty-one bank accounts by the organization, out of which nine were inactive, the lawmakers also sought explanations on the basis for the agency in the period under review to have kept 27 accounts with only 11 banks amounting to N117, 792,132.99 active, while the remaining 16 accounts amounting to N608,226,371.69 were embargoed.
Also, the Committee observed that the audit report revealed that for 2019 after generating an income (including subventions and grants) of N3, 817, 778, 776.65 and expending a total of N1,197,182,579.27, the balance is N2,620,596,187.38, adding that the expected bank balance as year-end 2018 of N2, 564, 398, 282.51 brought the expected balance to N5,184,994,469.89 available to the agency.
In view of the above, considering the 2019 bank balance sheets submitted to the lawmakers as N726, 018,504.68 which represents an unaccounted balance of N4,458,975,965.21 needed to be accounted for, expressing that funds expended on MITROS Residences, Abeokuta were not appropriated for in line with best budgeting practices by the State, hence the need to avail the committee with documents in support of all cost lines and revenue on the properties between January 2015 and February, 2020.
Responding, Odusolu, who outlined some of the housing projects carried out by the Corporation under his purview, appreciated the lawmakers for the opportunity to clarify issues during the period under review.
The former M.D. posited that the Corporation needed to be run like an independent business enterprises, which should be devoid of the public service scrutiny, rules and processes; the position which was countered by the lawmakers as it runs contrary to the extant laws that any State owned investment or organisation should always be subjected to public scrutiny in line with the constitution.