Ondo COVID-19 committee denies receiving $10m in donations

•Promises to make donations public soon

The Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund Committee has said that it did not receive donations amounting to $10 million from the United States and China and other donors, and said the about N700 million it received would be made public soon.

A member of the Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund Committee, Mr Segun Olugboyegun, who made this clarification in a statement, said it was unfair and malicious claims by some people in the social media that the committee got over N700 million as donations from various organizations and that the funds were misused.

Olugboyegun, who also clarified that he was not the chairman of the committee, said the body did not receive the donations alleged in the social media posts and that he was not involved in the misuse of any public fund.

According to him, those peddling the rumours were “only working to rubbish the administration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and adversely affect his chances of being re-elected for another term.”

Olugboyegun said neither the chairman of the committee, Mr Kayode Falowo, nor any of the committee members “collected a kobo for serving on the committee but rather donated money into it,” says the “scurrilous and patently false recorded message circulated widely via social media in respect of the Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund” was meant to assassinate his character.

He said: “The said recorded message contained willful allegations obviously meant to assassinate my character and damage my reputation and standing in the reckoning of reasonable members of the public.

“It is obvious that this bare-faced campaign of calumny, targeted at Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, is propelled and driven by the sinister motive to smear him and adversely affect his chances in the forthcoming October 10, 2020, Ondo State governorship election.”

He said: “Contrary to the fake allegation that the COVID-19 Response Fund Committee received N700 million from the World Health Organization (WHO); US$2million from the United States of America; US$1million from China, and a total of US$7million, no such donations were received by the Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund Committee.

“That the about N700 million donations received by the Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund Committee in cash and kind will shortly be made public. That some members of the Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund Committee, my humble self inclusive, also made donations to the Fund.”

He added that “the members of the Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund Committee worked pro bono (or FOC, free-of-charge, as they say) and did not collect salary, remuneration, sitting allowance, perquisites or anything whatsoever from either the Ondo State Government or the Ondo State Covid-19 Response Fund Committee.”

The committee said “because of the zeal, passion, and enthusiasm with which the members of the Ondo State COVID-19 Response Fund Committee discharged their assignment, Ondo State recorded the second-highest COVID-19 Response Fund contributions in the entire country, coming after Lagos State,” lamenting that “it is, therefore, most unfortunate when highly placed persons who, by dint of their own hard work and the grace of God upon their life, having attained heights where they feel they owe it a duty to give back to society, are maligned and vilified for doing so.”

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