Lagos Assembly Sets Up Panel To Probe Ambode
The Lagos State House Assembly has set-up a committee to investigate the purchase of 820 buses by the administration of former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Members of the Assembly constituted the panel on Tuesday during plenary, saying it was important to investigate the purchase of the 820 buses out of the 5,000 buses proposed by the former governor for mass transit in the state.
They said the vehicles were purchased despite objection by the House.
In a motion titled ‘Lagos State House of Assembly Motion Number II’, a lawmaker Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa II) explained that the House noted that at the Executive/ Legislative parley held in September 2017, Mr Ambode informed the lawmakers that 5,000 buses would be bought by the state government.
He stated that the executive proposed to spend N17 billion to purchase the buses in the 2017 budget, but the Assembly did not approve the request.
Yishawu said, “In the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the state government proposed N24 Billion and N7 Billion respectively, but these were not approved.
“The state government still went ahead to import 820 buses at N7 Billion, and out of them, 520 are still awaiting clearance at the ports.”
The lawmaker added that the House was worried that 520 buses were awaiting clearance from the bonded warehouse and the port, stressing that they were purchased with taxpayers’ money without approval.
He, thereafter, submitted that the House should set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate all the issues relating to the purchase of the buses.
Yishawu also asked his colleagues to investigate the cost of the purchase of the buses and other issues surrounding the purchase to prevent a reoccurrence.
He said, “The state government requested waivers for the importation of the buses and it was not granted. The value of the buses was overrated; some of the buses are still in the ports and they are attracting demurrage.
“N45 Billion would be spent on the total purchase of the buses and we need to prevent such an occurrence in the future.”
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said the House needed to prevent waste because the expenditure had been done.
According to him, the vehicles are in the ports and they have been there for almost a year and the state will continue to suffer if the lawmakers allow the buses to stay in the ports.
“We should be the regulators of transporters; the state should not operate the buses. How much we are giving the buses out should be addressed.
“We should get the buses to the roads and save the state from further wastes,” he said.
The House subsequently resolved to set up a committee headed by Mr Fatal Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki II) to look into the matter and report to the lawmakers in due course.
Members of the committee, according to the Speaker, included Yishawu, Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho I), Olanrewaju Afinni (Lagos Island II), Rasheed Makinde (Ifako Ijaiye II), Yinka Ogundimu (Agege II), Mojisola Miranda (Apapa I) and others.
Speaker Obasa directed the committee to invite the Accountant-General of the state, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, and others involved in the purchase to give their account on the purchase of the vehicles.
He also told them to invite the present Commissioner for Finance, the Managing Director of LAMATA and others.
In his contribution, Hon. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege II) stated that the House needed to investigate every transaction that had to do with the procurement of the buses.
He added that it would become a bad precedent if the House did not do anything about the matter.
“A huge amount of money still needed to be paid on the purchase of these buses. Whoever has erred should be brought to book,” he said.
The House subsequently went on a break until further notice for members to embark on various programmes.
It is expected to hold town hall meetings across the 40 constituencies of the state on September 10, 2019, among other activities.