BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG & KUNLE KALEJAYE
ONE of the Private operators (name withheld) contracted by Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, to run its Transport Company, with a fleet of 100 high capacity buses, has defrauded it of not less than N11 million barely six months into the contract.
It will be recalled that TUC appointed two operators to run its transport company when it acquired new capacity buses.
Investigation revealed that the operator printed a fake ticket other than the one approved by both parties and was using it to enrich himself to the detriment of the umbrella body for senior staff associations in the country.
Vanguard gathered that the fraud was blown opened when some officials of TUC who boarded some of the buses under the said operator like every other passengers were shocked that the conductors were issuing different ticket other than the approved one.
The leadership of TUC was said to have asked the auditor to look through the books only to discover that the operator had been defrauding it of several million of naira.
Confirming the fraud, President-General of TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, said though the operator had agreed to refund the money, his services had been dispensed off.
According to him, “Lagbus Asset Management Limited, LAGBUS, gives ticket, somebody somewhere gets another tickets and use that ticket for people to board. So, we don’t get the money, the money goes to his pocket. Then the driver that is driving the bus noticed that they were using wrong tickets for the bus, did he stop it? NO. The conductor did he stop anything? NO.”
“What we did was suddenly, we woke and told auditor to audit. We found out that over N11 million was missing. But what I am telling you now is between the driver, the operator, and even the conductor. So we told them to suspend the operation for a while until we decide on what we want to do with the operator. You cannot believe that we pay these drivers N40,000 a month?
“Normally, the operator has a kind of franchise, so the business arm of TUC pays the drivers through the operator. The operator also goes ahead to pay the driver 50 per cent of their salaries.”