By Ismaeel Uthman
The dismissal of the petition against Governor Rauf Aregbesola by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the alleged diversion of the N34.9 billion given to Osun State by the Federal Government has been attributed to the failure of those making the allegation to substantiate any of the claims.
The ICPC absolved the state government of any diversion of the fund, saying no fraction of the petition was substantiated, thereby making it to lack in merit.
The Federal Government had in 2015 given all the states in Nigeria, the fund to settle outstanding salaries and allowances of their workers being owed by about 27 states due to the drop in allocation to states, owing to corruption, oil theft and drop in the prices of crude oil.
A pressure group in the state, the Coalition of Civil Societies for the Emancipation of the People of Osun State had subsequently petitioned the ICPC, accusing Governor Rauf Aregbesola of diverting the bailout fund released to the state.
But the ICPC had in a letter referenced ICPC/INV/GBP/SG.2/520 and dated August 24, 2017, cleared the state government, saying, the bailout fund was actually expended on payment of salaries and pension of both the state and local government workers and the cadets of the Osun State Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES).
The letter, addressed to the Secretary of the State Government was sent with the heading, “Re: Request for probe on diversion and possible misuse of Salary Bailout Fund of Osun State. Save the Soul of Workers and Pensioners in Osun State”.
The letter was signed by the Head of Department of Investigation, Adebayo A. Kayode.
It reads in part, “The above case bordering on diversion and misuse of bailout fund and allowance to effect the full payment of all outstanding salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities owed to Osun State civil servants and retirees contrary to the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) Act 2000 was reported to the commission and same had been investigated conclusively with no fraction substantiated.
“A sum of N34,988,999,000 was released to the State of Osun on 31st August, 2015 which was expended on the payment of salaries, civil pensions, OYES cadets stipend and allowances and local government salaries and pension.
“In view of paragraph 2 above, it is clear that the bailout fund was not diverted but utilised for its original purpose, therefore, the commission has set aside the case for lack of merit.”
Reacting to the letter, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Adelani Baderinwa said apart from being vindicated on the allegation, the ICPC has also confirmed the financial prudence, accountability and sincerity of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
Baderinwa urged those he described as bizzy body and political sponsored pressure groups to desist from writing unnecessary petitions against Aregbesola on the platform lies and fabricated stories just to suit their paymasters.
He opined that the security and anti-graft agencies should be prosecuting groups or individuals submitting frivolous petitions to them for political purposes like the dismissed petition against Aregbesola.