By Olasunkanmi Akoni
In the ongoing probe of alleged corruption against last administration in Lagos State and ex-Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Olusegun Banjo has said that former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode did not recourse to his ministry in the controversial purchase of 820 mass transit buses for N45 billion.
Banjo, who served under Ambode as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, revealed this, Tuesday, when he appeared before a 16-man Ad-hoc committee, chaired by Fatai Mojeed,
The committee was set up by the State House of Assembly to probe the “illegal” purchase of the buses which was said to have been done without due process.
Meanwhile, Ambode who was also expected to appear before the probe committee did not show up.
The following former commissioners; Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade and Special Duties, Oladejo Seye, also failed to appear but sent written letter to the committee explaining that they were not in the country.
According to Banjo, his former principal shunned the procurement tradition he met on the ground and did not carry his ministry along as regards the purchase of the mass transit buses.
“The way the ministry was structured (under Ambode), it did not allow us to function well.
“N24 billion did not come to my ministry. We didn’t have a running system. As a commissioner, I could not approve one naira. All the Ministry Department Agency, MDAs, approached the governor directly,” he declared.
According to Banjo, “Ambode’s administration was not transparent. A lot of things could be done without the knowledge of the commissioners.”
“I don’t know what happens to unbudgeted funds when it comes because the Ministry of Finance does not inform my ministry; we don’t have a running system.”
In her remarks, the Accountant-General of Lagos State, Mrs Shukrat Umar, when asked if the budget for the purchase of the buses was approved by the State Executive Council, said: “The State Treasury Office acted on Exco’s approval. The buses were in line with Exco’s approval. I would not know whether the Paris Refund Club was discussed or not.”
The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said the House would invite Ambode through a newspaper publication.
According to him “If the ex-Governor Ambode fails to show up then, the Assembly will have no option than to resort to issuing a warrant for his arrest.”