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Lawmakers ask commissioners to produce Sunburn Yacht deal documents

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Gbenga Akanmu
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly  yesterday subjected three state commissioners and the Chief Executive Officer, Multipurpose Infrastructural Development Company (MIDC), Mr Emmanuel Gobil, to interrogation to clarify the mystery surrounding the procurement as well as ownership of Sunburn Yacht.

The commissioners interrogated were Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr. Tokunbo Afikuyomi; Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze and Finance, Prince Rotimi Oyekan.

The Assembly had, on Monday, summoned the trio and Justice commissioner to appear before it to clarify grey areas surrounding the procurement of the Sunburn Yacht.

Most of the Assembly members expressed their displeasure in the manner and process the Sunburn Yacht contract was done, saying the state executive arm supposed to have carried the legislative arm along in the deal and save the state the unnecessary embarrassment being projected on the pages of the newspapers.

At the end of the session, the Speaker, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, directed all the parties involved to produce and submit all valid documents in the transaction of the Sunburn Yacht on or before today’s sitting for further clarification.

Ikuforiji explained that the documents were important in order to establish the truth of the whole matter as well as correct the wrong public impression over the development.

During the cross examination, Afikuyomi disclosed that the state government had no financial involvement in the procurement of the Sunburn yacht.

“Most times when government gets involved in public-private partnership, it is not always about monetary involvement, in most cases it has to do with the provision of infrastructural facilities,” Afikuyomi said.

Also, Rotimi Oyekan and Ben Akabueze, commissioners for Finance and Budget and Economic Planning respectively, while clarifying their parts on the issue maintained that the state government never expended any fund in the procurement of the yacht.

According to Akabueze, “as far as the yacht is concerned, we never appropriated any money for it. I am very sure that the House can bear witness to this, because it was not included when we presented the budget to the House.”

Oyekan said: “Lagos was never a financier in the procurement of yacht, it was handled by the Tourism Ministry and I can state categorically that the state has no financial commitment.”

On why the yacht is yet to start functioning, CEO of MIDC, Gobil, explained that the project was introduced to the company by the Tourism Ministry, adding: “The vessel could not function because the issue as to who owns it is still in court and until that is cleared, it would still remain on the water without functioning.”


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