Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has faced a fresh set of allegations on fraud and illegal deductions from the state’s local government account.
The allegations, contained in a release by the APC on Wednesday, detailed how the Governor reportedly made several deductions, amounting to billions, from the dedicated bank accounts for Local Government in the state since 2016 without the required Executive approvals.
According to the release signed by the APC Media Campaign Council, the Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, amongst other illegalities and fraud, shortchanged the state with deliberate over-deductions of funds meant for the payment of teachers’ salaries across all the Local Government Councils.
It was alleged that Mr. Godwin Obaseki has been making an estimated N47 million monthly withdrawal from Owan West LG for payment of teachers’ salaries, when in fact, the true cost, approved and budgeted by the government, is estimated at 36 million naira.
The APC Media Campaign Council also accused the Governor of an illegal deduction of N5.5 million created to the account of ALGON, an association of Local Governments Chairmen which lacks any constitutional function to spend public funds.
He draws from the joint state local government account for COVID-19, and a monthly deduction of one-percent of total funds accrued to the local government for security in addition to the over N700 million he draws from the state treasury as security vote.
The statement read: “Independent investigations and whistleblowers from the disorganized and divided Obaseki-government have revealed a running scam and the criminal diversion of funds from the joint state local government account by the outgoing Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
“These revelations, containing proofs of illegal deductions from the account of the Local Councils in Edo State, show in grim details how the insatiable greed, corruption, and tyranny of Mr. Godwin Obaseki paralyzed local councils in the State.
“For instance, in all the months of Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s ruinous tenure in office, we have uncovered solid proof of how he consistently swindled the people of Owan West with an over-deduction of an estimated 47 million naira monthly as payment for teachers’ salaries, when in actual fact, he was paying only 36 million naira to the teachers.
“The same was the case in several other Local Councils where the Governor, using the Ministry of Local Government, unilaterally, without the approval of the Executive Council and with essentially a non-existent legislature where his bag-carrier, Frank Okiye, was illegally installed, made withdrawals and threatened the officials into silence with intimidation and warnings of removal.
“We also discovered that Mr. Godwin Obaseki has been making separate deductions of one-percent of the total revenue accrued to the Local Councils monthly for security and health respectively, without explanation of what these funds are spent on and why they are necessary especially as the Governor already draws over 700 million naira monthly as security vote.
“Evidence of the Governor’s illegal deduction of 5.5 million naira created to ALGON account for COVID-19 and spent against constitutional dictates by Mr. Godwin Obaseki was also made available to us.
“The Local Government is the cornerstone of the government system in Nigeria given its nearness to the people and its broad mandate to tackle developmental challenges facing the people in communities, especially those in rural areas that do not often enjoy the headlines. By depriving the councils of their statutory funds, and intimidate their elected leaders into silence, Mr. Godwin Obaseki not only defrauded the state, but he also deliberately promoted underdevelopment in Edo State and increased the hardship of the people.
“His illegal inflation and criminal diversion of teachers’ salaries is an egregious violation of trust and crime, considering that the same Governor refused to address the acute shortage of teachers in the state, forcing poor residents to pull their meager resources together for private recruitment and deployment of teachers to government-owned schools.
“We will be forwarding this evidences to the EFCC, ICPC, and other relevant agencies for further investigation. In the meantime, we demand the immediate invitation of Mr. Monday Osaigbovo, the Edo Commissioner of Local Government and Community Affairs, by the relevant authorities to explain his role in the fraudulent withdrawals and publish all transactions and deductions made by the Obaseki-administration since its regrettable emergence in 2016.”