Fayose, Fayemi In War Of Words Over N2.8bn UBE Fund
Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose and his predecessor who is now the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi are now engaged in war of words over an alleged misappropriation of N852.9 million Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) counterpart fund by the immediate past All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by the latter. The alleged fraud, Fayose is also alleging has made the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) to blacklist the State, making it impossible for the State to access the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Matching Grant running to over N2.8 billion.
“Last Wednesday, UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr. Yakubu Gambo told the Senate Committee on Finance’s Budget Defence that Dr Fayemi, who is now the Minister of Solid Minerals used the N852.9 million counterpart funds dedicated for education by the federal government through the UBEC for other purposes”, the state government said in a statement today.
The SUBEB Chairman, Senator Bode Ola said it was painful that Ekiti State and its people were suffering for the sin committed by the APC government of Fayemi, adding that “it is even more embarrassing and ridiculous that Fayemi’s Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Kolawole could defend the alleged 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.”
Senator Ola said; “A sum of N852, 936,713.92 was paid into the SUBEB Access Bank account on January 14, 2012 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!”
Speaking further, the SUBEB Chairman said; “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.”
While describing Fayemi’s justification of the illegal withdrawal as ridiculous, Senator Bode Ola said; “Even UBEC, in its letter said the withdrawal constitutes a serious financial crime and also violates Section 11(2) of the UBE Act, 2004.”
Reacting to the state government’s allegation, Mr Yinka Oyebode, Special Assistant on Media to Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Solid minerals Development, said Governor Ayo Fayose’s reckless utterances and primitive approach to governance should be blamed for the UBEC’s sanction.
Oyebode in a statement made available to journalists said it is rather unfortunate that the Ayo Fayose administration would, in its characteristic infantile and crude manner, falsify discussions that took place on the floor of the National Assembly, all in the bid to justify its ineptitude.
According to him, whereas the UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Yakubu Ganbo , was at the senate, he did not accuse the immediate past administration led by Dr Kayode Fayemi of misappropriation of UBEC fund. Rather Dr Gambo gave details of development that led to UBEC’s decision to sanction the state.
He explained that the immediate past government had taken a loan from a bank to be able to make available its counterpart funding to access the UBEC fund. But the bank withdrew its money when the government lost the 2014 governorship election for fear that the incoming government might not honour the terms of repayment.
“So, the sitting government that took the loan from the bank to provide the counterpart to access what is in the coffers of the federal government lost an election. And the bank decided that the state had not met up the requirement for pay back. And so as not to have problem with the incoming government, they decided to withdraw their money”, Dr Gambo said
“So Ekiti state went ahead to implement part of the action plan with the N826million assessed from UBEC. When we went out for monitoring and we discovered these anomalies we sanctioned Ekiti State by ensuring that until they formalize and bring back that matching grant they will no longer assess any form of funding from UBEC. And that is the position now”, added Dr Gambo in response to questions from the distinguished senators.
“The Fayose government is to blame for this. Its crude approach to governance, careless utterances and verbal threats to financial institutions shortly after the June 21 , 2014 election made many banks to review their relationships with the state.
“It is recalled that Fayose had called bank chiefs to a meeting shortly after the election and warned them that he was not going to repay any loan entered with the then outgoing government. This development , coupled with his antecedence as a highly misguided and mischievous ruler had made many financial institutions including the one in question to review existing relationships.
While government is a continuum, the Fayose administration had carried on in the last one and half years as if it is an island and lord unto itself with no regard for institutions.
“The issue of diversion does not occur, the bank simply withdrew its support because of the negative signal it got from the Fayose administration. So, Fayose should be blamed for everything. When a government is inaugurated it inherits the assets and liabilities of the former administration. And a responsible government would tackle the issue of development with all sense of responsibility and not play to the gallery like Fayose.
“If Fayose had not refused to pay contractors engaged by the former administration and also threatened not to honour any bank loan by the administration, the UBEC project would be on course and there would not have been any sanction stopping his administration from assessing UBEC fund.
So, Fayose should blame his infantile administrative style for the problem.
It is rather unfortunate that the state is being denied the UBEC funding because of gross irresponsibility of the incumbent government.
“It is on record that when the Fayemi administration came in 2010, SUBEB counterpart funding of 2008 was outstanding and contracts were already awarded by the previous government led by Engr Segun Oni. We supported all the government left behind and funded the SUBEB projects through loan arrangements from the bank which was paid back on monthly basis. Theses procedures remained for the 2009, 2010 and 2012.
“The SUBEB fund was used judiciously by the Fayemi administration and this is evident in the construction of primary school buildings and renovation of junior secondary schools among others. The Fayose administration should stop its habit of falsehood and face governance with every sense of responsibility instead of looking for excuses for its ineffectiveness and imminent failure.”