Exclusive! Alleged N4.2bn LIRS Fraud:Sanwoolu rejects kingmakers’ decision to install, Folarin Ogunsanwo, as Oba-Elect of Ilara

Governor of Lagos State , Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, has kicked against the installation of Mr. Folarin Ogunsanwo as the Alara of Ilara , Epe, according to what an insider said was based on the antecedent of the Oba-elect.

According to the source, the kingmakers were said to have compromised by Mr. Ogunsanwo to pick him as the Oba elect despite the fact that the community was against his installation as their Oba based on his activities as the chairman of Lagos State Inland Revenue Service, LIRS.

The Obas in council from Epe, is also said to have allegedly rejected his nomination, stating that they do not want anyone with stain or blemish in their midst.

The opposition to the candidature of Mr. Folarin Ogunsanwo to the Oba ship of the ancient town stems from the issue of integrity and trustworthiness.

They alleged that the antecedent of Mr.Ogunsanwo leaves much to be desired , especially given the circumstances that led to his exit from the Lagos Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, within the 11 months of his appointment.

They argued that Oba Akeem Adelaja,who had joined his ancestors ,was a man of integrity and that explains why his people had cause to put up a befitting burial for the late king.  

Ilara kingdom expected a new king who will surpass the  development stride of the late Alara in the area.

The people were expecting a king that will ensure the development of the area because of the prominence of the stool. They had expected a king with integrity, knowledge, level headed and one without a blemish, may be with local or international connection. 

The kingmakers were presented with names of interested candidates to the throne. 

In the list were names of  seasoned serving and retired civil servants, politicians, business men, civil servants and top diplomat.

The people of the ancient town said how the king makers settled for no less than Mr. Folarin Ogunsanwo as the Alara-elect despite petition against his candidacy beat them hollow.

The name Folarin Ogunsanwo in Lagos is well associated with LIRS, the revenue agency of government. 

It will be recalled that Folarin was sacked by Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for ‘stealing and misappropriating’ #4.2 billion naira in 2016. An investigative panel was set up to unravel the truth but not much was heard from the panel thereafter.

According to an online portal, an internal memo communicating Ogunsanwo’s departure from the revenue-collection agency dressed up his exit “retirement.” Dated 26 August and signed by J. Aina, Board Secretary, the memo told staff that Ogunsanwo was proceeding on retirement from 25 August and had handed over to Mrs.  Akintola Bolaji,  Director, Tax Audit.

The memo, however, was not offering the staff information that they did not have. It has become clear to them since early July that Ogunsanwo, who boasted on appointment that he would double the state’s internally generated revenue, was not going to be in the seat for much longer.  Sources in the LIRS said Ogunsanwo could not account for about N4. 2 billion belonging to the agency. 

This was said to have earned him a query from Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was not impressed with Ogunsanwo’s response. He was told to proceed on compulsory leave pending the conclusion of investigations into the sum unaccounted for.  

During the investigation,  Ogunsanwo, disclosed sources, refunded the sum of N1.2 billion. His decision to cooperate with the investigators, explained sources, was a major reason the government spared him the embarrassment of being exposed.

Ogunsanwo succeeded Mr. Tunde Fowler, who was appointed Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue  Service  (FIRS). Shortly after resuming office, he took an axe to the structure inherited from his predecessor, sacking many top staff hired by Fowler.

For now, it is not certain if Governor Sanwoolu will ask the kingmakers to conduct another round of selection with the exclusion of Mr. Ogunsanwo to pick the Alara-elect.

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