Labour unions in Ondo State on Monday urged the state’s Accountant-General, Laolu Akindolire, to stop further release of funds to the government of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, whose tenure expires on Friday this week.
The letter, addressed to the Accountant-General, was signed by the chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, Sunday Adeleye, his Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, counterpart, Bosede Daramola, as well as the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Soladoye Ekundayo.
The unions alleged that they had information that the outgoing government was making efforts to mop up funds in the account of the state government for “frivolous projects”, before the end of its tenure.
The unions warned Mr. Akindolire not to abuse his office in approving money other than the payment of workers’ salaries.
Officials told PREMIUM TIMES that the Accountant-General had become evasive and had not been to his office to avoid influx of financial requests.
As a result, the N150 million requested by the outgoing administration to organise the inauguration ceremony has not been processed and is stuck in the Accountant-General’s office.
It was also gathered that efforts to reach Mr. Akindolire on his mobile phones had been impossible.
Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, in his response, said the projects completed by contractors needed to be paid only from funds earmarked for capital projects.
“There is a difference between funds meant for recurrent and those for capital expenditure,” he explained. “You cannot take recurrent funds and use it for capital projects.”
He argued that if a contractor has his certificates of a completed projects, he should be paid, even though salaries have not been paid, because the monies for the payment of salaries are different from those meant for contractors.
On the absconding of the Accountant General, Mr. Akinmade noted that in a transition, there was bound to be some strange movements in a bid to curry the attention of the incoming government.
“This is not unusual in a transition like this, where you see people trying to shift loyalty so that they would be favoured by the incoming government,” he said.
“But we should not play politics with the lives and well-being of the people,” he said.
He noted that Governor Mimiko would not do anything against the interest of the people and in breach of the fiscal responsibility laws of the land.
He had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that it was legal for the administration to continue to spend funds from the state’s coffers for the next six months even without an extant budget, provided the spending did not exceed the prescribed amount for the period.