Kogi Deputy Governor Attended Exco Meeting in 2018, SSG Alleges

The Secretary to the Kogi State Government (SSG), Mrs Folashade Ayoade-Arike, on Monday, alleged that the last time the Deputy Governor of the state, Simon Achuba, attended the weekly State Executive Council (Exco) meeting was in August 2018.

Mrs Ayoade-Arike made the allegation in Lokoja, the state capital, while testifying at the sitting of the panel investigating the allegations of gross misconduct against Achuba.

Responding to the questions posed to her by the lead counsel to the deputy governor, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), she said she could not query Achuba because he was her boss.

Although she conceded that it was not part of her schedule of duties to pay the deputy governor his salaries and emoluments, she insisted that all government workers, including the deputy governor and his aides, have been paid “up-to-date”.

She said her office was responsible for the payment of salaries of political office holders.

Others that testified at the panel included the Acting Director (Treasury), Office of the Accountant General, Mr. Elijah Ebinemi, who presented before the panel, evidence of alleged payment of salaries/allowances to the embattled deputy governor.

The certified true copies of the payments covering 2016 to 2017 were presented.

A cashier in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Saliu Hassan Itopa, also testified.

Itopa, who was led in evidence by lead counsel to the state government, Mr. Anthony Adeniyi, said the allowances and other monies, including imprest, were paid directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

The state’s Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah had, on August 23, constituted a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct raised by the state House of Assembly against Achuba.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. John Baiyeshea was named the Chairman of the panel.

Other members are Hajia Bilikisu Abdulmalik Basher, Mr. William A. Aliwo, Canon Z. A. Asun, Alhaji Isa Adeboye, Mr. Muhammed A. Aikoye and Mr. Ada Shaibu.

The Deputy Court Registrar (DCR), Special Duties at the High Court, Mr. Bamidele Aina, will serve as secretary of the panel.

Recall that Achuba and Governor Yahaya Bello have been at dagger’s drawn over political differences which has led to the duo making allegations and counter-allegations, culminating in the setting up of the Baiyeshea-led panel.

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