- Prof. Sunny Ododo led management team of the National Theatre has been asked to be suspended and investigated
- The call was made the Society for Transparency and Social Development following allegations of corruption
- Ododo was alleged to have massively looted and stolen assets of the National Theatre under the guise of privatisation
The Society for Transparency and Social Development has called for the suspension and investigation of Prof. Sunny Ododo led management team of the National Theatre over alleged looting of assets and misappropriation of funds of the parastatal.
In a petition written to the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and signed by the Corporate Director of the organisation, Taiwo Osipitan, the management under Prof. Sunny Ododo was alleged to have massively looted and stolen assets of the National Theatre under the guise of privatisation.
“The general manager of the National Theatre, Prof. Sunny Ododo claimed that he was authorised by the Board of the national theatre to sell property of the parastatal was false as the Board reply to the query by the Ministry suggested that no such approval was given to that effect.
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However, it is surprising that in the face of this declaration, the Ministry could not take any action to sanction this gross misconduct.”
Osipitan, however alleged complicity of the ministry of Information and Culture and supervising committee at the National Assembly consequent to the continued stay of Prof. Ododo in office.
“The current massive looting going on at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos shows that either the Ministry of Information and Culture or the National Assembly are not paying adequate attention to the brazen stealing going on there or they are complicit in the looting."
Meanwhile in its audit report on the award of contract and internally generated revenue of the National Theatre titled “Audit of procurements, personnel accounts and internally generated revenue of national theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, for the period: January 2020 to November, 2021” signed by Director, Extra-Ministerial Audit Department, Dr O.A. Onwudili, the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation found Prof. Sunny Ododo culpable of various infractions.
Amongst the recommendations contained in the audit report dated 14th of January, 2022, Prof. Ododo was required to provide explanations for contravening the process of awarding contracts, lack of due process in award of contracts and other payment irregularities.
In a follow-up petition submitted by the group to the EFCC on November 22, 2021, Osipitan called for the immediate suspension and investigation of Prof. Sunny Ododo.
He recalled the suspension and later investigation of erstwhile General Manager of the National Theatre, Mallam Kabir Yusuf who was suspended over allegations of looting of property belonging to the parastatal for a thorough and unbiased investigation.
He explained, “It is critical to note that in November 2009, the then General Manager, Mallam Kabir Yusuf was suspended over allegations levelled against him.
He was, however, brought back in February 2010 when nothing was found against him.
The reason for his suspension was to make way for the investigative committee to do a proper investigation and to prevent Mallam Yusuf from using his office to influence the work of the Committee.
In like manner, with the weight of allegations against Professor Sunny Ododo, he should have been suspended with immediate effect to enable the committee to do proper and uninfluenced investigations into the alleged loot and misappropriation of funds.”
He gave detailed descriptions of the alleged loot which, according to him, include, non-remittance of the sum of N120million being the returns on sales of 1200m diameter of each pipeline of 150mm into the TSA.
The sales of 600m each of water supply pipeline. The sales of investment road show equipment worth over N6m and misappropriation of N14m to erect mini marque.
The sum of N14m being part of 2021 capital released was expended by him and the Director of Production and Technical Services, Mr Abiodun Abe on unproductive round tables and monograph.
Removal and sales of installed elevator engines and misappropriation of over N130m realised from corporate clients after the takeover of the National Theatre by the Central Bank of Nigeria on frivolous trips amongst other allegations.”
Additionally, a cold room situated at the VIP Lounge otherwise known as “Federal Palace" which was estimated to worth N500m was also looted.
Also, in engineering section, heavy duty machines including lathe machine, milling machine, drilling machine, sharping machine welding machine and two big spraying machine at the carpentry department with estimated amount of N700m were allegedly sold by the management.
A source at the National Theatre who craved anonymity alleged a strong connivance between the Director of Production and Technical Services, Mr Abiodun Abe who currently represents National Theatre and the Technical Committee of G. Cappa to sell the critical assets of the parastatal running into hundreds of millions.”
FG warns against selling of national heritages
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that that the management of the national theatre, Lagos, reportedly leased out a portion of land within the premises to a private business owner.
It was reported that Lai Mohammed had warned against giving out any portion of the national heritage to individuals.
Speaking at the official handing over ceremony of the edifice to the CBN bankers’ committee, Lai Mohammed stated that the national theatre remains a national heritage and that it should not be ceded to any person or group.