By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
After a thorough screening of the finances of the 16 local governments in Ekiti State and subsequent realisation that there were alleged cases of fraud, the state House of Assembly has ordered the 16 suspended council chairmen to refund N3.6 billion to the state’s treasury.
The lawmakers at their sitting on Monday said the order was predicated on the report of a panel which indicted the council chairmen of mismanaging the money entrusted in their care.
It was the valedictory session of the fifth Assembly as the sixth Assembly will be inaugurated by Governor Kayode Fayemi on Thursday.
Passing its resolution, the Assembly ordered the suspended chairmen to return the N3.6 billion into the coffers of the state government and also recommended appropriate sanctions against them.
This was part of the recommendations by the House Committee on Public Accounts in its report on the local government chairmen which was adopted by the house.
The report of the panel was presented by the member representing Ikere Constituency 2, Mr. Sunday Akinniyi.
The former Speaker, Mr. Kola Oluwawole, representing Moba Constituency 1, pleaded for leniency on behalf of the suspended chairmen but his plea was turned down by the majority of his colleagues.
Oluwawole, like the suspended council chairmen, are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP members opposed the recommendation for the sanction, claiming that the screening was full of irregularities.
They were, however, overruled by the Speaker, Mr Adeniran Alagbada, who claimed that the chairmen went too far in their actions.
Alagbada cited the example of his council area, Ise/Orun, where over N300 million was set aside for the building of the secretariat which was not executed.
Meanwhile, chairmen and members of three commissions nominated by Governor Fayemi were screened and confirmed by the House.
The commissions are House of Assembly Service Commission, Civil Service Commission and State Independent Electoral Commission.
All members of the House of Assembly Commission headed by Chief Taiwo Olatubosun were only asked to take a bow and leave having served at one point or the other as members of the house.
The Assembly ratified Justice Jide Aladejana as the Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission and former Head of Service, Mr. Bunmi Famosaya, as the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission.
Other members of the commissions also sail through having proven their high level of integrity and diligence to the house.
During the exercise, Speaker Alagbada congratulated the appointees and urged them to justify the confidence reposed in them.
In an interview, some of the appointees expressed happiness over their confirmation and promised to put in their best towards assisting the present government in achieving its dream of running and an all inclusive government for social and and economic development.