The Ondo State Government has denied a media report that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu spent N7.3 billion without the approval of the state House of Assembly.
The report stated that the governor spent the money on what it described as ‘Contingency’, within the three months he was on medical vacation in Germany, specifically between July and September this year.
However, Akeredolu’s Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, in a statement on Tuesday, denied the report.
The statement was titled ‘Re: Akeredolu spent N7.3billion in three months on ‘Contingency’ without House of Assembly approval.’
While denying the allegation, Olatunde declared that transparency and accountability were values synonymous with the Akeredolu-led administration.
The statement read, “It is important to state unequivocally that the referenced N7.3 billion constituted the cumulative amount of palliative funds received from the Federal Government. These funds were allocated under the contingency sub-heading to address unforeseen expenses not initially budgeted for but deemed necessary during the fiscal year.
“While the original contingency fund in the 2023 budget was N1,069,000,000.00, the additional N7 billion represents funds received from the Federal Government labeled as ‘Infrastructure Support Fund,’ specifically for palliatives meant to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
“In accordance with the Ondo State Public Finance Management Law 2017, the establishment of a contingency fund is outlined in part five, subsection (i) and (ii). It states: A contingency Fund is hereby established. (ii) The contingency fund may be utilised for making money available to meet emergency expenditure (other than statutory expenditure) which is not provided for in the Appropriation Law for the current year and which although otherwise failing to be met out of the consolidated revenue fund or capital expenditure and development fund cannot without serious injury to the public interest be postponed until a Supplementary Appropriation Law providing for it can be enacted.”
The CPS further explained that the contingency funds were designed to address emergency expenditures not provided for in the current year’s appropriation law, but crucial to the public interest and requiring immediate attention.
“Governor Akeredolu did not personally spend the N7.3 billion; rather, these funds were appropriately utilised for palliatives. The funds were released to the state by the Federal Government as part of the efforts to mitigate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal nationwide.
“Our administration remains committed to the highest standards of financial responsibility. Any claim of impropriety is unfounded. We encourage the public to rely on accurate information and refrain from being swayed by sensational claims lacking factual basis. The palliative committee will in due course avail members of the public the details of the expenditure of the palliative fund,” the statement added.