The Ondo State Government has denied allegations the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) drew funds from its coffers.
Wife of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Betty, founded BRECAN after she survived breast cancer as a way of raising awareness on dangers of the disease.
Ondo Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, who reacted to allegations that BRECAN was used to siphon funds from the state, said the organisation was founded 23 years ago.
Ojogo explained that BRECAN has a governing body instituted more than two decades ago.
According to him: “BRECAN predates the administration of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as Governor of Ondo State. BRECAN has thrived and it has flourished without government support prior to 2017.
“If an organisation or association that thrived and survived for that long is being accused of unsubstantiated issues, it can only be laughable.”
Ojogo also denied allegations that a son of Governor Akeredolu, Babajide, collected N430 million as consultancy fee for the discovery of the N4.3bn kept in the vaults of Zenith bank for over 10 years.
He challenged political opponents to provide evidence where the Governor’s son collected the money.
The Commissioner insisted that nobody was paid any commission for the discovery of the cash.
His words: “Where is the evidence that he collected the money? The truth of the matter is I know with the viciousness of the opponents of Governor Akeredolu either within the APC or outside is so fierce to the extent that if they had gotten a piece of single evidence that the Governor’s was collecting one naira from Ondo State, they would have been flying it.
”Let them come out with the evidence that the governor’s son collected N430 million. And, I want to tell you that the N4.3 billion couldn’t have been paid into expenditure account but into revenue account.”
Explaining how the cash was discovered, Ojogo said somebody in government was informed that the money has been laying in the bank and government officials went through due process to find out what was actually wrong and they discovered that the sum of N4.3 billion was in Zenith Bank for over 10 years without the knowledge of the immediate past government.
“Officials of government had a running battle with Zenith Bank as they insisted that the interest on the money must be calculated for keeping the money that long without the knowledge of Government.
“But with no intention to defend the bank, if your money is in the bank and you didn’t write that the money should be traded with, the bank couldn’t have done business with your money on your behalf to generate interests for you. It was just docile, laying fallow in an account.
“So, if the money was there and no interests had accrued, what was the basis of keeping the money there before the period of discovery? So moving the money to other banks was punitive enough for the bank in question. All those papers you see flying about the money, was it paid into private account? It was the same government’s accounts. It was put into government’s properly managed accounts.”