..Speaker issues fresh summon
…As Assembly strike out $200,000 bribe petition against lawmaker
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa Speaker has directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni to invite all government officials including former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to appear before the Committee, set up by the House to investigate 820 buses purchased in the twilight of his administration.
Obasa gave the directive at the plenary, Thursday, while the Ad-hoc Committee on Transportation; and Economic Planning and Budget gave a report on the refusal of some government officials, including Ambode to appear before committees.
Recall that the House had set up an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the purchase of 820 buses and the Oshodi Interchange projects.
Fatai Mojeed, in his report, stated that out of the 20 officials summoned by the committee, only four did not appear and they include; former Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning, Justice/Attorney General, and Permanent Secretary Economic Planning. Hence, the Committee could not come up with a comprehensive report.
He added that the Committee also demanded for the transaction vouchers of the buses purchased, and the only response received from the Accountant General of the State, was that she relied on the Governor’s approval.
“Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode did not report to the House before commencing on the purchase of the buses in question, and investigation revealed that over N48 billion was committed to the project, excluding the import duty totally N20.2billion. Out of 820 buses in question, 570 are still at the Nigerian Port Authority, Lagos,” He added.
Following the report, Gbolahan Yishawu, condemned the act by the last administration and maintained that the purchase was in violation of the Lagos State Procurement Laws which the Ambode’s administration even refused to revert to the House before going ahead to purchase the vehicles.
In a related development, the House has disregarded the petitioning against Lanre Oshun, representing Lagos Mainland Constituency II, over the alleged $200,000 bribery as hush money to cover up a massive breach of contract in the Environment sector under Ambode’s administration.
Giving the preliminary report, the Chairman of Ad-hoc Committee investigating the allegation, Tunde Braimoh, informed the House that the petitioner was faceless, anonymous, and the allegation was baseless as the committee could not locate the petitioner.
He therefore, advised the House to disregard the petition which was capable of tarnishing the image of the House as an Institution.
Osun had earlier been accused of collecting a whopping $200,000 bribe money from three companies in order to cover up for non-performing contracts worth over N9 billion awarded to them by Ambode’ administration.
In a petition which was submitted to the Speaker, by an anti-corruption campaign organization, under the umbrella, “Stop Corruption Now Initiative”” and signed by its President Barrister Olakunle Omisade, Osun who is the Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Environmental Sanitation was accused of collecting the said illicit money from contractors who were awarded various contracts bordering on the environment by the last administration of which the sum was paid upfront against established rules.
The said companies are Quality Sanctuary Services Limited, Jane Rin International Services Limited and Blue Bridge Marine Services Limited.
In the petition, Osun was said to have presented his findings to the House on two different occasions but on both occasions, it was turned down for being puerile and lacking in details. He was said to have been saved the second time by the Speaker, Obasa who advised that certain portions of the findings be admitted in the interim.
The Speaker has also been alleged by the petitioners of protecting Osun over his misdeeds.