By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Fresh facts have emerged as to the reason behind the suspension of two labour leaders in Osun state by the state Civil Service Commission over alleged falsification of government documents used to obtain a loan of N372,910,000.00 (three hundred and seventy-two million, nine hundred and ten thousand naira) from Stanbic IBTC Bank.
The two suspended labour leaders are Comrade Akinyemi Olatunji and Francis Oladele Adetunji, Chairman and Treasurer of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN) respectively.
The gazellenews.com reliably gathered that the governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the state workers may be on collision course over the alleged subtle effort of the state government to bury under the carpet the alleged fraud of N373 million loan allegedly committed by the two labour leaders in the state civil service.
However, a top official of the state government has refuted the report that the Aregbesola administration wants to sweep the matter under the carpet, noting that the state government is waiting for the outcome of the investigation being conducted by the state Head of Service, before taking decisive action on the matter.
He however, stated that there are no plans to recall the suspended workers.
According to a letter with ref C621/83, signed by K.O. Adesina, Permanent Secretary, State of Osun Civil Service Commission, dated
April 30 2015, the two prominent officers were suspended for allegedly falsifying documents purportedly signed by Mr G.A Babatunde, the former Accountant General of the state to write a letter to the bank on behalf of the state government for “awareness and consent letter” for the loan which was received on behalf of the Association of Senior Civil Servants in the state.
The officers were suspended indefinitely until investigation into the matter is concluded by the commission at its plenary meeting of Wednesday, 29th April, 2015 and were ordered to submit all materials in their possession to the Accountant General before proceeding on the suspension.
The two union officials also allegedly forged the signatures of Messrs K. Oni And P.O.Awokojo, both Director of Finance and Account and Director of Administration and Establishment of Osun state Universal Basic Education respectively as well as signatures of R.M. Ajayi and J.O. Abolade, Director of Finance and Account and Director of Administration and Establishment respectively in the state Ministry of Education purportedly for letters of consent and irrevocable domiciliation of Account.
Our correspondent learnt that the two labour leaders connived together to carry out the fraud and they also used the names of their wives, relatives, concubines and other fictitious names as beneficiaries of the loan.
The loan, which was said to have been secured in the name of the labour union (ASCSN), was exposed recently when the manager of Stanbic IBTC Bank wrote the state government to demand the loan repayment.
Meanwhile, investigations conducted by our correspondent revealed that the labour leaders involved in the scam lavished the huge sum on their relatives and concubines.
A document obtained indicated that the loan of N372 milion obtained from Stanbic IBTC Bank was allegedly shared by the union leaders, family members, concubines as well as their in-laws.
The document revealed that Comrade Akin Olatunji, Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants took N25 million; Comrade Francis Adetunji, Treasurer, N27 million; Comrade Uanzenkin Mathew, who was the secretary took N9 million; another N4 million was shared by the three union officials while a special list of beneficiaries sponsored by the chairman including his in-laws, girlfriends and concubines shared the rest amount.
But it was gathered 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, 13th May, 2015 to plead with the state government to hands off the matter and lift the suspension placed on the two officials.
Following this development, other labour leaders in the state have threatened to make the state ungovernable for Governor Aregbesola should the governor recall their suspended colleagues.
The state workers said they would “react” as such action of sweeping the alleged fraudulent case under carpet would promote corruption and indiscipline in the service if state government failed to reprimand and punish the two union leaders.
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 that if he fails to pay us will be a child play if he recalls the two men without doing proper investigation and punish 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 is properly protected during his time”.
The state Head of Service, it was learnt, had also set up an administrative Panel of Enquiry to investigate the matter since January 2014 but nothing had been done on it.