Kwara panel grills former deputy governor over property acquisition

The Commission of Inquiry established by the Kwara government to investigate the sales of public properties between 1999 and 2019, questioned Chief Joel Ogundeji, former deputy governor of Bukola Saraki, about the ownership of a bungalow in the Ilorin Government Reserve Area (GRA). .

Ogundeji told the panel on Thursday in Ilorin that the 4-room bungalow along Abdulrasaq Road was built by the state government between 2011 and 2012, after he stepped down as lieutenant governor.

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

Journalists report that Ogundeji, who served as deputy governor from 2003 to 2011, said the building was built on the plots of land he owned.

When asked if the pension law is justifiable, the former lieutenant governor answered affirmatively, saying that the office had raised his status in society; hence he came with more responsibilities.

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

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

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

However, he agreed with the panel’s attorney, Joseph Bamigboye, that he had only one home before he became lieutenant governor, but it rose to four in his eight years in office.

When asked if it was fair to receive two pensions from the same chest, the former lieutenant governor said there was never any way he could have survived on the 36,000 naira again after serving as lieutenant governor.

Bamigboye, who is a lead Nigerian lawyer (SAN), asked if the former deputy governor knew that the building was awarded for more than 156 million naira, he said he never appeared in the picture.

Journalists report that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq established the Olabanji Orilonishe-led panel on August 5 to investigate the illegal sale or acquisition of government property between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2019.

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