ABEOKUTA – When the arrest of the Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo filtered the town, not many knew the enormity of the alleged offences committed by the number three citizen of the Gateway State.
Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arrested the Speaker at the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos State.
According to the anti-graft agency, Oluomo was arrested over allegations bordering on financial crimes. Oluomo was said to have been on the wanted list of the Commission following his failure to honour EFCC invitation several times.
Oluomo and some principal officers of the Assembly were accused of forging signatures and financial documents of the Assembly.
The Commission alleged that, the Speaker in connivance with some other top officials in the Assembly diverted the sum Seven Hundred Million (N700, 000, 000) Naira allocated for running of the Ogun State House of Assembly.
THE ENCOUNTER NEWS gathered that, on 16th April, 2021, EFCC had written to the Speaker requesting for documents that would help the Commission in its investigation bordering on alleged stealing, forgery and money laundering.
But rather to answer the query and Invitation from the EFCC, Rt. Hon. Oluomo and seven others on January 12, 2022, obtained an injunction to stop the anti-graft Commission from investigating them.
The Commission in a counter-affidavit filed on February 28, 2022 in opposition to Rt. Hon. Oluomo and seven others’ application in a suit number FHC/AB/CS/8/22 said it discovered discrepancies in the documents submitted by the plaintiffs in a letter dated 27th April, 2021.
The Commission, despite having the power to arrest other applicants and Oluomo on the discrepancies in the documents purportedly made by the applicants and their authorized or procured agents, said in line with best practices, it only invited Oluomo to clear the observed discrepancies, but the Speaker refused to honour the Commission’s invitation until his arrest on Wednesday.
Oluomo and seven other plaintiffs had said in a record presented to EFCC that in year 2020, funds belonging to the Ogun State House of Assembly were spent on training and accommodation.
According to the Commission, the record contradicted the claims as EFCC declared all the information contained in the record to be false because there was lockdown imposed by the Federal Government for COVID-19 Pandemic during the time under review.
EFCC further explained that, to confirm the authenticity of some documents submitted by Oluomo and the Assembly leaders, the anti-graft agency wrote to Ashkash Nigeria Limited, a company owned by former Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Suraj Adekumbi to verify the documents.
The Commission, however, disclosed that Ashkash Nigeria Limited denied to have issued such receipts tendered by Hon. Oluomo as exhibit.
The Financial Crimes Commission, equally said on January 24, 2022, it wrote another letter to the Managing Director of NNPC Mega Station adjoining Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) to confirm if truly Hon. Olakunle Oluomo and seven other applicants in the sworn injunction transacted business with the petrol station and receipt submitted as exhibit emanated from the company, the anti-graft agency also disclosed that the NNPC Management denied issuing such receipts attached to the documents.
The anti-graft agency said, although, investigation into the intelligence is still ongoing, Oluomo and other plaintiffs and their agents have started threatening some possible witnesses that will help the Commission to carry out proper and thorough investigation.
It said the Originating Summons deposed to by the Speaker and other plaintiffs were a ploy to see the revelations made by the 1st defendants and further intimidate witnesses with respect to any revelation further disclosed by the 1st respondent while attempting to respond to the Originating Summons.
The Commission, therefore, said having carried out it preliminary investigation into the intelligence, concluded as follow:
“a. That there are criminal schemes perpetuated inside the Ogun State House of Assembly by its members and officials including but not limited to forgeries of documents, falsification of financial records and diversion of public funds to personal use by some elected members and civil servants.
“b. That the plaintiffs along with some officials of the Ogun State House of Assembly forged some documents, in order to falsify the financial records of the House.
“c. That the financial records of the House were falsified in order to retire public funds the criminal actors had diverted or wants to divert to their personal use and purposes different from what the funds were appropriated.
“d. That a few of such forged documents are the annexure to Exhibit EFCC 1 and EFCC 3 which have been denied by their purported authors.
“e. That annexure exhibits EFCC 1 and 3 that have been denied by their purported makers were used to justify the disbursement of some monies belonging to the house.
“f. That investigations have also revealed that some corporate entities that purportedly issued some invoices and receipts to the plaintiffs do not exist even though these receipts and invoices were used by the plaintiffs and their cohorts to justify the disbursements of funds.
“g. That the record that in year 2020, funds belonging to the Ogun State House of Assembly were spent on training and accommodation has shown to be false because there was lockdown during the time in review. That investigation into the intelligence is still ongoing. That I know that the plaintiffs and their agents have started threatening some possible witnesses that will help the 1st respondent in its investigation.
“That this Originating summons is a ploy by the plaintiffs to see the revelations made by the 1st defendants and further intimidate witnesses concerning any revelation further disclosed by the 1st respondent while attempting to respond to this Originating summons.”