By Adekola Afolabi
The Ondo State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs has threatened to sanction all council officials found culpable of mismanaging public funds in their care.
The chairman of the committee, Hon. Jamiu Maito issued the threat yesterday at the Assembly Complex during a meeting with some local government officials summoned to explain their involvement in the projects executed in the affected council areas by the past government between 2016 and early 2017.
It would be recalled that the committee during its recently concluded oversight function to the 18 local government areas of the state discovered what it referred to as poorly executed and fake projects in 11 out of the 18 council areas.
Hon. Maito and other committee members had directed the officials in the affected councils to go back and effect all the corrections noticed and also re-execute all the substandard projects or face the full weight of the law.
Speaking with journalists on the development shortly after the meeting with the affected council officials, Hon. Maito explained that out of the eleven local governments invited, six had appeared before the committee to brief it on the progress made so far in respect of the corrections the committee directed them to make.
He warned people entrusted with public funds to desist from using such according to their wishes or see it as a national cake, but utilise it for the purpose it is meant to serve in the interest of the people.
He further said some of the affected council officials had gone back to sites to make necessary corrections while others who fail will be made to refund the money for such projects.
The committee chairman noted that the exercise should not be seen as a witch-hunt, or an attempt to harass or intimidate anybody, but to ensure probity, accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.
He added that those who had made necessary corrections would be freed by the committee while those who refuse will face necessary sanction
He emphasised that any council official found to have mismanaged or embezzled public funds would be made to refund it.
So far, officials of six local governments including Akoko North-East, Ose, Ondo West, Ilaje, Ese-Odo and Akoko South East, have since appeared before the committee between Monday and Tuesday (yesterday) for questioning and update on the projects.
The officials of the remaining five councils are expected to appear next week Monday.