Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Ayodele Fayose, yesterday inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate allegations of fraud against former governor of the state and current Minister for Steel and Minerals Resources Development, John Kayode Fayemi.
This was in compliance with the recent resolution of the State House of Assembly directing the governor to so do.
Explaining the rationale behind the development, governor Fayose, whose speech was read by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Mrs. Modupe Alade, to journalists at the government office Exco chambers, Ado-Ekiti, said: " In compliance with the resolution of the State House and pursuant to the powers conferred on Mr. Governor in section 2 of the Ekiti State Commission of Enquiry Cap C10 Laws of Ekiti State, 2012, His Excellency, Gov. Peter Ayodele Fayose, has set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to look into the financial transactions of the state between 2010 and 2014."
Headed by retired Justice Silas Bamidele Oyewole of the Ekiti State High Court, the Commission has as its terms of reference, to include ; to ascertain how much Ekiti State Government received as statutory allocations during the period under review and how same were disbursed; look into the financial transactions of Ekiti State between 2010 and 2014; ascertain the amount received on behalf of the State from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC); investigate the allegations of fraud/loss of funds, including the diversion and conversion of the UBEC funds; ascertain the amount that the Ekiti State Government tool as loans during the period under review and how they were utilized ; including all other issues relating to the finances of the Ekiti State Government within the period under review, and to make appropriate recommendations to the Ekiti State Government. "
Asked if setting up a probe into Fayemi's tenure isn't witch-hunt, both the SSG and the state's Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi clarified that the development was in strict adherence to the law of the state, incidentally signed into Law in 2012 by Fayemi himself.
Alade said: " This is no witch-hunt because severally, the State House of Assembly, that is conferred with the power to look into the finances of the state, has invited former governor John Kayode Fayemi to clarify some issues bothering on the finances of the state such as the SUBEB funds which was mismanaged and others. But despite having been invited for three times, he has refused to honour the invitation.
"Since he has refused to do that, the governor, acting on the directives by the state Assembly and the powers conferred on him by the constitution, has set up this judicial Commission of Enquiry.
Clarifying further and substantiating with provisions of the state's Law, Owoseni said: "Let me state clearly that what has just been done with the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry is in strict compliance with the section two of the Ekiti State Law on the establishment of Judicial Commission of Enquiry and fortunately, this particular law was signed into Law in 2012 by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, which means it is an extant Law, a Law of the state and not intended to witch-hunt anybody.
The Commission is fact finding and there is no cause for anybody to be afraid of the proceedings of the Commission which is quasi-judiciary and would be in the open court and not hidden from anybody.
The principles of fair hearing connotes that all parties must be given a hearing in the proceedings. It further states that before judgement is passed on another body or before any party is condemned, before judgement is passed on any issues, the other party must be given fair hearing.
" That fair hearing proceedings of the Law is not unlimited, where adequate notice and service have been confirmed served on you, and you abdicated your right of defence, then, the issue of fair-hearing would not applicable at all. I am sure this Commission of Enquiry would give all parties connected a fair hearing. It is not at all targeted at former governor Kayode Fayemi in person, but it is to find facts as to how the finances of the state were dispensed under that administration. So, if anybody is called upon by that Commission, and served adequate notice through medium by which they can be informed, and they abdicated their right to defend or present facts contrary to what is presented, then they will be taken as if they have abandoned their right of fair hearing and any judgement passed thereof, any resolution passed thereof, would be binding on such persons, " he said.