By Tunde Oyekola in Osogbo
This is definitely not the best of time for Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State.
Workers in the state are poised for war not only over the backlog of unpaid salaries but now also over a subtle effort of the state government to bury under the carpet an alleged fraud in respect of N372. 9 million loan collected by two labour leaders in the state’s civil service.
Two labour leaders in the state, Comrade Akinyemi Olatunji and Francis Oladele Adetunji, both Chairman and Treasurer of the Association of Senior Civil Servants in the state respectively have already been suspended by the state Civil Service Commission over alleged falsification of government documents used to obtain a loan of N372,910,000.00 from Stanbic IBTC Bank.
According to a letter with ref. C621/83 signed by the Permanent Secretary, State of Osun Civil Service Commission, K.O. Adesina, dated April 30, 2015, the two officers were suspended for allegedly falsifying documents purportedly signed by the former Accountant-General of the state, Mr. G.A. Babatunde, to write a letter to the bank as indication of the state government’s awareness and consent to the loan, which was received on behalf of the Association of Senior Civil Servants in the state.
The two union officials also allegedly forged the signatures of Directors of Finance and Account and Director of Administration and Establishment of Osun State Universal Basic Education, Messrs K. Oni and P.O. Awokojo, as well as signatures of Director of Finance and Account and Director of Administration and Establishment in the state’s Ministry of Education, R.M. Ajayi and J.O. Abolade, purportedly for letters of consent and Irrevocable Domiciliation of Account.
However, WESTERN POST gathered in Osogbo that the National President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade B. B. Kogoma, and the Secretary-General of TUC, Barrister Musa Lawal, visited Governor Aregbesola on Wednesday to plead with the state to hands off the matter and lift the suspension placed on the two officials.
It was gathered that this infuriated the labour leaders in the state who boasted that should the governor recall the two men, the state workers would react accordingly.
Such an action would promote corruption and indiscipline in the service, they said, arguing that the government should not fail to reprimand and punish the two union leaders for the fraudulent act.
Ostensibly, the labour leaders want the suspended erring officers punished because they fear that a reprieve for the officers would break the rank of labour in the state who has given Governor Aregbesola a 14-day ultimatum to pay workers’ outstanding salaries.
According to a labour leader, “We have just given the state government a 14-day ultimatum to pay the outstanding salaries, but the reaction that will follow if he fails to pay us will be a child play if he recalls the two men without doing proper investigation and punishing them. Labour leaders in the State of Osun are battle-ready and we are set for war with the governor should he lift the suspension order imposed by the State of Osun Civil Service Commission on Messrs F.O. Adetunji and Akin Olatunji respectively who allegedly forged the signature of government officials to receive huge loan from Stanbic IBTC Bank.
“The law should take its course on those officials because we as labour leaders view the action as encouraging criminality and corruption within the civil service of the State of Osun and such should not be allowed in the State of Omoluabi. It will encourage corruption and fraudulent practices in the civil service if allowed to go.
“The Head of Service, Mr. Sunday Owoeye, should ensure that the integrity and the image of the civil service are properly protected during his time,” the labour leaders said.
Meanwhile, a document obtained by WESTERN POST indicated that the loan of N372.9 million obtained from Stanbic IBTC Bank was allegedly shared by the union leaders and their cronies, concubines as well as their in-laws.
According to the document, Comrade Olatunji, Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants allegedly took N25 million, Comrade Francis Adetunji, Treasurer- N27million, Comrade Uanzenkin Mathew, who was the secretary at the time, took N9 million.
Another N4million was shared by the three union officials while a special list of beneficiaries allegedly sponsored by the chairman including his in-laws, girlfriends and concubines shared the rest amount.
It was also gathered that the state’s Head of Service had also set up an Administrative Panel of Enquiry to investigate the matter since January 2014 but nothing has been done on it.
Comrade Olatunji is at present the Osun State Chairman of TUC.