The Lagos State House Assembly has set-up a nine-man ad-hoc committee to investigate the purchase of 820 buses worth N45b by the administration of the immediate past Governor of the State, Akinwunmi Ambode.
The committee is chaired by Hon. Fatai Mojeed and other members are: Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, Hon. Bisi Yusuff, Hon. Afinni Olanrewaju, Hon. Rasheed Makinde, Hon. Yinka Ogundimu, Hon. Mojisola Meranda, Hon Temitope Adewale and Hon Kehinde Joseph.
The House resolved that it became necessary to investigate the purchase of the 820 buses out of the 5,000 buses proposed by former Ambode for mass transit in the state, which he went ahead to purchase despite objection by the House of Assembly.
In a motion titled: Lagos State House of Assembly Motion Number 2, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, stated that the House noted that at the Executive/ Legislative parley held at Golden Tulip in FESTAC in September 2017, Ambode informed the House that 5,000 buses would be bought by the government.
He added that the executive proposed to spend N17 billion to purchase the buses in the 2017 budget, saying however the House declined approval as it did not follow stipulated terms.
“In the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the state government proposed N24 Billion and N7 Billion respectively, but these were not approved.
“The state government still went ahead to import 820 buses at N7 Billion, and out of them 520 are still awaiting clearance at the ports.
“The buses were later bought without approval by the state House of Assembly,” he disclosed.
He added that the House was worried that 520 buses were still awaiting clearance from the bonded warehouse at the Port and that they were purchased with taxpayers’ money without approval.
Yishawu then submitted that the House should set up an ad hoc committee to investigate all the issues relating to the purchase of the buses.
He also stated that the House should investigate the cost of the purchase of the buses and other issues surrounding the purchase to prevent a re-occurrence.
Speaker Mudashiru Obasa pointed out that the House needed to prevent waste because the deed had already been done.
According to him: “The vehicles are in the ports and they have been there for almost a year. The state will continue to suffer if we allow the buses to stay in the ports.
Obasa noted that contrary to the practice in the state, Ambode’s administration delved into operation, when “we should be the regulators of transporters, the state should not operate buses.
“How much are we giving the buses out should be addressed. We should get the buses to the roads and safe the state from further wastes,” he said.
In his contribution, Hon. Yinka Ogundimu said: “We need to investigate every transaction that has to do with the procurement of the buses. It would become a bad precedent if we don’t do anything about this.
“A huge amount of money still needed to be paid on the purchase of these buses. Whoever has erred should be brought to book,” he said.
Hon. Saka Solaja said: “In awarding a contract there should be two parties. The contractor should note if the company is viable and if it is provided for in the budget. Yet, the contractors went ahead to take up the contract.
“We need to investigate the issue and whoever is culpable should refund money to the government. By getting ISPO without budgetary approval should attract punishment,” he said.
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