Former Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Olusegun Banjo and his Energy and Mineral Resources counterpart, Mr Olawale Oluwo in the administration of former governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, have denied reports that they indicted Ambode before an ad hoc committee of the state House of Assembly.
The Accountant-General of Lagos State, Mrs Shukrat Umar, buttressed the claims of the former commissioners when she appeared before the ad hoc committee on Wednesday, confirming that the State Executive Council (SEC) approved the budget for the purchase of the 820 vehicles.
The former commissioners debunked the reports in separate statements on Wednesday, noting that the reports were deliberate misrepresentation of what transpired during the proceedings of the investigative committee probing Ambode’s administration.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa had constituted a nine-man ad hoc committee under the chairmanship of Honourable Fatai Mojeed (Ibeju-Lekki I) to probe the procurement of 820 high-occupancy vehicles by the Ambode-led administration under its Bus Reform Initiative (BRI).
He had also claimed that the administration did not seek its approval for the procurement of the vehicles and had therefore directed the committee to Banjo and other top functionaries that were involved to state their roles in the procurement of the vehicles.
At the proceedings, reports had claimed that Banjo indicted the former governor, and that Ambode sidelined his ministry in the controversial purchase of 820 mass transit buses.
The report also claimed that the way the ministry was structured under Ambode did not allow him to function well.
In his statement, however, Banjo denied the reports, noting that he did not say anything before the committee to condemn or indict the Ambode-led administration under which he served as the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning between February 2018 and May 2019.
At the proceedings, Banjo said he told the committee that he was appointed in February 2018 when the issue of the purchase of the buses was already on the ground.
He pointed out that the issue on the buses was not contained in the budget he managed, though they might have been in earlier budgets.
However, Banjo claimed that he brought to the attention of the ad hoc committee that the operating system of the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning should be reviewed, claiming that he pointed out other weaknesses of the ministry’s operating system in a professional manner.
In his own statement, Oluwo acknowledged that he attended the second session of the committee proceedings on October 15 alongside former Commissioner for Agriculture, Honourable Toyin Suara, noting that reports in some sections of the media were not true.
According to him, Suara and I were called into the conference room at the same time. The lawmakers asked both of us questions in the open. While Suara was asked questions about Lagos Rice Mill Project in Imota, I was asked questions about the LED-UK streetlights installation, a United Kingdom Exim Bank funded project.
The former commissioner said it was strange “to read reports that Suara and Oluwo said many of the projects including Oshodi Transport Interchange and others were never captured in the state budget. This is rather strange.
He therefore noted that the reports were completely false and indeed a misrepresentation of the proceedings of the ad hoc committee of the state House of Assembly,” he said.
Also at the proceedings on Wednesday, the accountant-general told the committee that the purchase of the vehicles followed due process, confirming that the State Treasury Office acted on the approval of the state executive council.Read Full Story