The Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun, on Saturday said that he had sufficient proof to clear himself of complicity in the alleged N2.4 million seminar fraud, being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Oleyelogun, who spoke with newsmen on Saturday in Akure, attributed his present ordeal to the impeached deputy speaker, Ogundeji Iroju, who, he said, was only chasing shadow with the alleged N2.4 million seminar fund scandal in the Assembly.
He said that on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, it was falsely reported that he was arraigned at an Akure High Court, sitting inside the Olokuta Correctional Centre, in Akure, the state capital.
He stressed that it was evidently confirmed that no arraignment took place in the court on the said day, as he was nowhere near the court, while the EFCC counsel was also absent from the court.
Oleyelogun also said that contrary to media reports, he was never arraigned in court by the EFCC last Tuesday.
He said that he had sufficient proof to defend himself against the fraud allegation, vowing that he would do everything in his power to clear his name of any blemish.
The speaker wondered why anybody would have linked him with any missing money or misappropriated funds, as he was not the Assembly’s Accounting Officer or Auditor assigned to evaluate how money was spent.
He described the allegation against him as political persecution, vendetta and bad blood, especially from his former deputy, Ogundeji Iroju, who he called his personal friend and confidant before things went wrong.
Oleyelogun added that the embattled former deputy speaker decided to use the phantom N2.4 million seminar fund scandal against him, as his (Iroju’s) way of getting his pound of flesh after his impeachment and suspension by the Assembly.
He said that his impeachment was the aftermath of the crisis that erupted in the House last year, over the failed attempt to impeach the former deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi.
He alleged that some political gladiators from the Ifedore/Idanre federal constituency were also collaborating with Iroju to malign his character and tarnish his political achievements.
Oleyelogun said: “Where Iroju and his cohorts got it all wrong is that I am not the accounting officer of the House. I don’t sign the Assembly’s cheque, I am not in charge of disbursement of funds. This allegation is a mere political persecution, which will fail woefully.
“I did everything to make peace with Iroju. He even accused me of begging him at his residence; all I want is peace at the Assembly.
“The said funds had been returned to the Assembly’s account since the said seminar was not attended by those who were supposed to participate, as a result of last year’s COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and other political issues at the Assembly.
“Iroju, who is supposed to lead members to the seminar, was impeached and suspended; so there is no way they could go for the seminar.
“So, there is no fraud at the Assembly; the money has been returned to the House treasury, in line with due process. It’s against the due process and law to return such money to the state government’s coffer, as being insinuated.”
The Majority Leader of the House, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, who corroborated the Speaker’s submission on the alleged fraud, said that Oleyelogun was not directly involved in any financial transactions in the House.
Ogunmolasuyi said it was the former deputy speaker, Iroju, who consistently pressurised Oleyelogun, asking him to share the money, which the speaker blatantly refused to accede to.
It would be recalled that the EFCC had in March detained the former Clerk of the House of Assembly, Mr Bode Adeyelu, and three other officials, over the alleged N2.4 million fraud.