Stakeholders seek suspension of National Theatre GM, Ododo over fresh allegations of corruption
The Concerned Stakeholders of National Theatre, has called for the suspension of its General Manager, Prof. Sunny Ododo for alleged looting of the assets and treasury of the organisation.
In a fresh allegation, the group claimed that the General Manager in split transactions withdrew N13million in one day, an act, it claimed violated the MDAs Treasury Code which limits withdrawal limit to N200, 000.00.
The group alleged that on Wednesday, 12th of April, 2023, through Remita, Ododo transferred the N13million with batch number 573 comprising three transactions of N5, 282,555.08, batch number 572 with 3 transactions of N5, 000, 537.50, batch number 571 with 3 transactions of N800, 064.50, batch 570 with 5 transactions of N1, 024,822.50 despite being under investigation.
The group further alleged that the transactions were forwarded from the National Theatre revenue account between 3:09pm and 3:32pm through the online payment platform.
The group said: “The General Manager of the parastatal, Prof. Sunny Ododo exceeded the approved withdrawal limit of N200, 000.00 with his cash withdrawal of N13million on April 12, 2023. He authorised the withdrawal in split transactions which is contrary to the MDAs treasury code.
“The account from which he made the withdrawal was for overhead and revenue. It is for maintenance and not for capital projects therefore one wonders what he used the withdrawn amount for when all activities were almost grounded at the parastatal and there was nothing to maintain because of the on-going construction works.
“If you could recall, RATTAWU recently petitioned the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed over the harassment and intimidation of staff by Prof Ododo and the level of corruption under his watch but nothing was done by the Minister.
“Meanwhile, staffs have continued to operate in a very hostile and harsh environment that is antithetical to progress. They buy stationery and other secretariat materials from their personal purses while offices are left in total darkness because of their inability to power the generator.
“Facts before us revealed that the GM used the N13m to suppress the course of investigation into his atrocious acts. Prof Ododo also granted cash advances above the approved limit. He didn’t comply with Treasury circular No: TRY/A3. B3/2010/OAGF/CAD/026, dated 24th March, 2009, which stipulates that all MDAs should not grant Non-Personal Advances to staff for the purchase of goods and services above N200, 000.00.
“A total sum of N4, 876, 100.00 in respect of cash advances granted by the Agency to the members of staff for various purchases, renovations and other transactions were in excess of the approved amount of N200, 000.00 as stated in Federal Treasury Circular Ref. No TRY/A2&B2/2009/OAGF/CAD/026/V that, all Accounting Officers controlling expenditure are to ensure that all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200, 000.00 shall be made through award of contract.
“The GM needs to justify why cash withdrawal and advance was granted to staff in excess of approved rate.
“Recently, he approved the payment of irregular duty tour allowance of N920, 000.00 to staff while attending capacity building workshop for Management and Staff of the Agency being conducted within the office premises.
“But the review of payment vouchers by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation showed that there was no compliance with the above paragraph of the Public Service Rule.
“We, the Concerned Stakeholders, therefore called for the suspension and investigation of the General Manager of National Theatre, Prof Sunny Ododo to pave the way for proper investigation.”
Reacting, Prof Ododo described all the allegations as fallacy, insisting that he never committed fraud since he became the General Manager of the National Theatre.
He said: “There is actually no merit in what they are saying; absolutely no merit. I wish you were around; I would have asked you to come to my office so that I can take you through evidential documents.
“However, if you forward their petition to me, I will respond line by line to everything they alleged. But I can assure you that that is a fallacy. Since I assumed office here, nothing of such has happened.”