The Ekiti State Government has faulted the immediate-past Governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for the blacklisting of the state by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which has cost the state over N2.8 billion.
According to the state government, Dr. Kayode Fayemi misappropriated N852.9 million State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) counterpart fund which robbed the state of further access to the 2013, 2014 and 2015 matching grant which amounts to an accumulated sum of over N2.8 billion.
Dr Yakubu Gambo, the UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary, last Wednesday disclosed to the Senate Committee on Finance’s Budget Defence that Dr. Fayemi, who is now Minister of Solid Minerals, diverted the N852.9 million counterpart funds to other uses.
The SUBEB Chairman, Senator Bode Ola, in reaction to the disclosure expressed his sympathy to the Ekiti State people, who he regarded as suffering for the sins committed by the past administration.
He said: “It is even more embarrassing and ridiculous that Fayemi’s commissioner for Finance, Dapo Kolawole, could defend this clear criminal act perpetrated against the people of Ekiti State by saying there was no law forbidding states from borrowing counterpart funds to support states capital development operations.”
He continued that: “A sum of N852, 936,713.92 was paid into the SUBEB Access Bank account on January 14, 2014 as counterpart fund for 2012 UBEC projects and on this premise, UBEC released its Matching Grant of N852, 936,793.12 on January 3, 2013.
“On October 8, 2014, eight days to the end of Fayemi’s tenure, the same amount of N852, 936,713.92 was transferred from the account of SUBEB, leaving a sum of N9, 139,691.40 as credit balance in the account.
“This was done without the knowledge and approval of UBEC and because of this misappropriation, UBEC blacklisted Ekiti State and this has made it impossible for us to access Matching Grant for 2013, 2014 and 2015.
“UBEC, in a letter dated April 16, 2015, with Reference Number; UBEC/FA/SUBEB/EK/183/Vol.II/162 described the withdrawal as criminal act that violated Section 11(2) of UBE Act 2004 and conveyed its suspension of Ekiti State from accessing any further FGN-UBE Intervention Fund.
“For this reason, all UBEC/SUBEB 2012 ongoing projects have been halted, payment for all 2012 projects cannot be made to contractors, fund for special education; teachers capacity building etc for 2013, 2014 and 2015 cannot be accessed, infrastructures in our schools are neglected, in fact, SUBEB in Ekiti State is totally grounded!”
He added: “Our Governor, Ayodele Fayose responded to UBEC letter on the illegal withdrawal on April 22, 2015, stating that the illegal withdrawal was carried out by Fayemi’s administration. He also pleaded with UBEC to rescind its decision to suspend Ekiti State from accessing FGN-UBE Intervention Fund while allowing him to investigate the matter.
“Consequent upon the Governor’s directive, a 5-Man Panel headed by the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaiye was set up and the panel established the withdrawal of the N852,936,713.92 from SUBEB account domiciled at Access Bank, Ado-Ekiti branch consequent upon which Ekiti State was suspended from accessing FGN-UBE fund and also went further to involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the matter if the fund was not returned.
“Report of the panel has been forwarded to UBEC.”
Senator Bode Ola described the justification given by Fayemi as ridiculous, adding that UBEC itself, in its letter, regarded the withdrawal as a serious financial crime, one which violates Section 11(2) of the UBE Act, 2004.