Acquisition of public property: Commission grills deputy governor to Saraki

Acquisition of public property: Commission grills deputy governor to Saraki

Acquisition of public property: Commission grills deputy governor to Saraki
The former deputy governor to Bukola Saraki

The Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kwara Government to investigate sales of public properties between 1999 and 2019, has grilled Chief Joel Ogundeji, the former deputy governor to Bukola Saraki, over the ownership of a bungalow at the Ilorin Government Reserve Area (GRA).

Ogundeji told the panel on Thursday in Ilorin that the 4-bed room bungalow along Abdulrasaq Road was built by the state government between 2011 and 2012, after he left office as a deputy governor.

The house, he said, was built for him as part of his entitlement as contained in the State Pension Law 2010 for former governors and their deputies in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogundeji, who served as a deputy governor from 2003 to 2011, said that the building was erected on the plots of land he personally owned.

When asked if the pension law is justifiable, the former deputy governor answered in affirmation, saying that the office had elevated his status in the society; hence came with more responsibilities.

Ogundeji said that the house had provided a relief for him from visitors who came around to greet him and that one of his sons resides in the building.

When told that the law only recognised him, he replied that the law did not also specify that his dependent could not live in the house.

He told the commission that he received N900,000 monthly as a pension after his eight years in office, compared to the N36,000 he was receiving as a retired civil servant after 35 years in the state civil service.

He, however, agreed with the counsel to the panel, Joseph Bamigboye, that he had just one house before he became a deputy governor, but rose to four within his eight years in office.

When asked if it was fair to receive two pensions from the same coffer, the former deputy governor said there was never a way he could have survived with the N36,000 again after serving as a deputy governor.

Bamigboye, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), asked if the former deputy governor knew that the building was awarded for more N156 million, he said he was never in the picture.

NAN reports that Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq on Aug. 5 set up the Olabanji Orilonishe led-panel to investigate the sale or unlawful acquisition of government properties between May 29, 1999, and May 29, 2019.

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