The Lagos State House Assembly has inaugurated a committee to commence probe of immediate past governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, over the purchase of 820 high capacity buses at the cost of N45 billion.
The Assembly set up the panel during its plenary on Tuesday.
The house said it was important to investigate the purchase of the buses out of the 5,000 proposed by Ambode for mass transit, which it said were purchased despite the refusal of the Assembly.
Gbolahan Yishawu, member representing Eti Osa Local Government, moved the motion for the probe, titled: “Lagos State House of Assembly Motion Number 2.”
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He noted that at the Executive/ Legislative parley held at Golden Tulip in FESTAC in September 2017, the former governor informed the lawmakers that 5,000 buses would be bought by the state government.
He said Ambode proposed to spend N17 billion to purchase the buses in the 2017 budget, but was not approved by the Assembly.
“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,” he said.
Yishawu stated that the Assembly was worried that 520 buses were still awaiting clearance from the bonded warehouse and the Port, and that they were purchased with taxpayers’ money without approval. He urged the House to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate all the issues relating to the purchase of the buses.
The lawmaker added that the Assembly should investigate the cost of the purchase of the buses and other issues surrounding the purchase to prevent a re-occurrence.
He explained that the state government requested waivers for the importation of the buses, which was not granted because the value of the buses were overrated. He raised concern that some of the buses were still in the ports and attracting demurrage.
He added that, “N45 Billion would be spent on the total purchase of the buses and we need to prevent such an occurrence in the future.”
Speaker of the house, Mudashiru Obasa, stated that it was necessary for the assembly to prevent waste, emphasising that the vehicles had been at the port for almost a year.
He said the state would continue to suffer if the buses were allowed to stay in the ports, stressing that ” we should be the regulators of transporters, the state should not operate the 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.”
Therefore, the assembly set up a committee headed by Fatal Mojeed, to look into the matter and report to the House in due course.
Members of the committee include Gbolahan Yishawu, Hon. Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1), Hon. Olanrewaju Afinni (Lagos Island 2), Hon. Rasheed Makinde (Ifako Ijaiye 2), Hon. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege 2), Hon. Mojisola Miranda (Apapa 1) and others.
Obasa also ordered the committee to invite the Accountant General of the state, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, and others that were involved in the purchase to explain what they know about the purchase.
He also told them to invite the current Commissioner for Finance, the Managing Director of LAMATA and others.