Lagos assembly begins probe of Ambode over N45bn buses
The Lagos state house assembly has set up a committee to investigate the purchase of 820 buses by the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode, former governor of the state.
According to TheCable, the lawmakers said it is important to investigate the purchase of 820 buses despite objection of the assembly.
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Gbolahan Yishawu, representative of Eti Osa 2 constituency, said at the executive/legislative parley held at Golden Tulip in FESTAC in September 2017, Ambode informed the lawmakers that 5,000 buses would be bought by the state government.
The lawmaker said the executive proposed to spend N17 billion to purchase the buses in the 2017 budget, but that this was not approved by the assembly.
“In the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the state government proposed N24 billion and N7 billion respectively, but these were not approved,” he said.
“The state government still went ahead to import 820 buses at N7 billion, and out of that, 520 are still awaiting clearance at the ports.”
Yishawu added that the house was worried that 520 buses were still awaiting clearance from the bonded warehouse and the port, waiting to be cleared, and that they were purchased with taxpayers’ money without approval.
He asked the house to investigate the purchase of the buses and other issues surrounding it.
“The state government requested waivers for the importation of the buses and it was not granted. The value of the buses were overrated. Some of the buses are still in the ports and they are attracting demurrage,” he said.
“N45 billion would be spent on the total purchase of the buses and we need to prevent such an occurrence in the future.”
Commenting on the issue, Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of the assembly, said: “The vehicles are in the ports and they have been there for almost a year. The state will continue to suffer if we allow the buses to stay in the ports.
“We should be the regulators of transporters, the state should not operate the buses. How much are we giving the buses out should be addressed. We should get the buses to the roads and safe the state from further wastes.”
He then set up a committee headed by Fatal Mojeed, member representing Ibeju Lekki 1, to look into the matter and report to the house.
The speaker directed the committee to invite the accountant-general of the state, permanent secretary of the ministry of transport, and those involved in the purchase.
The development comes exactly one week after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) invaded the residenceof the former governor in the Epe area of the state.
The commission later said the ex-governor was under investigation but Ambode said he had not been informed. The EFCC had earlier asked a federal high court in Lagos to freeze three bank accounts allegedly linked to the former governor over a N9.9 billion fraud.
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The accounts are domiciled in First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Access Bank, and Zenith Bank with numbers 5617984012, 0060949275 and 1011691254 respectively.