Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos, has again insisted that the Lagos investment in Econet (now Zain), currently a subject of controversy in the media, was a straight forward institutional investment, which earned the state a profit of more than N15 billion and from which no individual benefitted.
Reacting to allegations that there might have been some illicit payout, now a subject of British Metropolitan Police investigation, Asiwaju Tinubu said the claim was not true for Lagos State.
He said the transaction was made by IBILE Holdings, a government-owned investment company; and that no broker was involved in the transaction. He added that the state, though IBILE, invested N4 billion; but reaped more than N19 billion when it divested.
â€œI must stress that when Lagos State sold its shares, it hired no broker, agent, or intermediary of any kind â€“ just as it did not hire any agent when it bought the Econet shares,â€ he declared. â€œSo, the allegation that a broker called African Development Fund Inc. (ADFI) was ever used, by the Lagos State Government is false.Â The state did not pay any commission to anybody, from whatever profit it earned from the investment.â€
The former governor, however, challenged anyone who had contrary facts on that matter to come forward with them, and also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to carry out a speedy but thorough probe into the matter.
â€œI challenge anyone who claims any commission was paid, received or laundered to come forward with proof.Â I also call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)Â to carry out a speedy but thorough investigation into the matter, since some of us have families, relations and well-wishers; and these allegations are rather traumatic to them.â€
Asiwaju Tinubu also said the claim that the British Metropolitan Police was after any persons involved in the alleged deal was not true as far as Lagos was concerned.
â€œI also read in the papers that the British Metropolitan Police investigated the integrity of the transaction and the alleged associated payments,â€ he declared in the statement. â€œI categorically state that the British Police has never questioned, arrested or charged myself or any other official of Lagos State under my tenure.â€