By Yemi Akintomide
Rt. Hon. David Bamidele Oleyelogun, the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, has said that he has sufficient proof to clear himself of any shaddy deal on the alleged N2.4 million seminar fraud being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Last Tuesday, it was falsely reported that the Speaker was arraigned by an Akure High Court, sitting inside Olokuta Correctional Centre, in Akure, the State capital.
However, it was evidently confirmed that no arraignment took place in the Court on the said day, as Oleyelogun was nowhere near the court, while the EFCC counsel was also absent from the Court.
In a media chat with the Speaker, the lawmaker representing Ifedore State Constituency, linked his present ordeal to his deputy, Ogundeji Iroju whom he said only chasing shadow with the alleged N2.4m seminar scandal in the State House of Assembly.
The Speaker stated that, contrary to media reports, he was never arraigned in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, last Tuesday.
He also stated that he had sufficient proof to defend himself against the fraud charge, and that he will do everything in his power to rid his name of any blemish.
Oleyelogun wondered why anybody would have linked him with any missing money or misappropriated fund since he was not the Assembly’s Accounting officer or Auditor to evaluate how money was spent.
He regarded the allegation against him as a political prosecution, vendetta and bad blood, especially from his former deputy, Ogundeji Iroju, who he called his personal friend and confidant before the going went wrong.
He added that the embattled former deputy speaker decided to use the phantom N2.4m seminar scandal against him, as his (Iroju) way of getting his pound of flesh after his impeachment and suspension by the Assembly, aftermath of the crisis that erupted in the House last year, over the failed attempt to impeach the former deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi.
The Speaker further said that some political gladiators from his Federal constituency of Ifedore/Idanre were also collaborating with Iroju to plot evil against his person and his political achievements.
“Where Iroju and his cohorts got it all wrong is that, I am not the House accounting officer. I don’t sign the Assembly’s cheque, I am not in charge of disbursement of fund, neither the internal or external Auditor. This allegation is a mere political persecution which will fail woefully.
“I did everything to make peace with Iroju. He even accused of begging him at his residence, all I want is peace at the Assembly.
“The said fund has been returned to the Assembly’s account since the said Seminar was not attended by those who supposed to participate as a result of last year’s Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and other political issues at the Assembly.
“Iroju that supposed to lead members to the seminar was impeached and suspended; so there is no way they could go for the seminar. So there is no fraud at the Assembly, the money has been returned to the House treasury in line with due process. It’s against the due process and law to return such money to the state government’s coffer as being insinuated,” Oleyelogun stated.
The Majority leader of the House, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, while supporting the.Speaker submission on the alleged fraud said that; “Mr Speaker was not directly involved in any financial transactions and you would later understand that there would not be any case against him after all.
“When the whole issue is resolved, you will realize that the media over hyped the case as one of the plans by some individuals to tarnish the image of the Speaker for selfish reason and personal aggradashment.
“The money in question was released in June last year, six months after the expiration of the original seminar the money was meant for, but the Covid-19 lockdown stopped the participants from attending the seminar. The procedure to get any fund has always been difficult and that was why they resolved that the money should be used for another programme.
“There was even pressure from the former deputy speaker, asking the speaker to share the money which the Speaker ballantly refused. Iroju was later impeached and suspended from the House for his role in the crisis within the party and Government. He thought of getting back on the Speaker through the alleged fraud.
“Unfortunately the money in question had been refunded into the government coffers, the receipt is very available for you to see,” Ogunmolasuyi noted.
It could be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had in March detained the former Clerk of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Bode Adeyelu and three others staff for alleged N2.4 million seminar fraud.
Also detained with the Clerk of the Assembly was the lawmaker representing Akoko South West I, Felemu Bankole, with the two staff attached to the Assembly; Olusegun Kayode and Afolabi O. J.