Adeleke orders probe into alleged financial fraud involving Peter Babalola, Ila College of Education Provost

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

Governor Ademola Adeleke has ordered investigation into the alleged financial misappropriation and fraud rocking the Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun.

Over N200 million was said to have been squandered within five months of the assumption of office by the new governing body of the institution.

The development has caused crisis between the Chairman of the school’s Governing Council, Peter Babalola and the Provost of the College, Prof Jimoh Afolabi as both trade accusations over alleged diversion of funds belonging to the institution.

Babalola reportedly spent N81 million for the accreditation of five courses and obtained N35 million loan approved by the state government on December 6, 2023.

He was accused of holding council meetings almost every week, in contravention of the 2011 circular of Osun, which stipulates that the meeting should be held quarterly. It was gathered that the council chairman goes home with a minimum of N660,000 per meeting, despite the quarterly operational cost of N500,000 approved for him.

A sum of N4 million was reportedly paid into the account of Akinlaja Wonuola, a bursary staff, on December 12 2023, for accreditation and allegedly diverted to Babalola’s account.

It was also reported that a sum of N3 million was paid into the account of Babalola on July 28, 2023, through his Access Bank account number: 1227278622, shortly after the inauguration of the governing council.

A sum of N1,785,000, which was purportedly meant for accreditors’ flight tickets during the accreditation was paid into the account of Akinlaja Wonuola, and was equally diverted to the account of the chairman during the accreditation exercise.

Similarly, on December 10, 2023, another sum of N4 million for the purchase of equipment for the English laboratory was issued, but findings showed that the equipment had already been procured and paid for in the past.

But, after allegations against Babalola were made public, the Chairman of the Governing Council issued a statement that a panel of the Council has recommended the suspension of Afolabi “with facts to back their decision, to Governor Ademola Adeleke, pending the conclusion of the investigation in the allegations levied against him.”

Babalola said the panel’s decision followed due process after accusing Afolabi of concealing official documents, lack of accountability of the institution’s status as expected when the governing council resumed office, misappropriation of funds, and “for misleading the public with sensational news which were lies and blackmail against the government and the governing council, among others.”

He further alleged that the Provost fed the public with lies against the government of Governor Ademola Adeleke and the constituted Governing Council.

Meanwhile, a statement issued on Tuesday by the spokesperson to Governor Adeleke, disclosed that the governor directed that his Chief of Staff should lead a committee to investigate the matter, assuring that erring officials would be punished no matter how highly placed.

“The Committee also included the Secretary to the State Government and Commissioner for Education among others to host a crisis resolution meeting between the school management and the Governing Council.

 

Peter Babalola
Peter Babalola

“Reacting to accusations and counter – accusations between the Chairman of the Governing Council and the College Provost, Governor Adeleke directed the committee to look into the subject of controversies and ensure amicable resolution of the crisis.

“I have read various statements and allegations emanating from the Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun. I have also been briefed about the conflict between the school management and the college Governing Council. The Committee is hereby directed to call a meeting of both parties.

“The Committee is to review all issues including questions of financial malpractices within the College system and propose a comprehensive accountability and transparency system.

“Let me warn that anybody implicated in any wrongdoing, financial mismanagement or corrupt conduct will face heavy sanction. I announce that I will not shield anybody no matter how highly placed”, the statement read,adding that the committee is expected to report its findings and recommendations to the governor within two weeks.

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