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FRAUD BORN IN LAGOS,Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) REACTS

By Mazi Odera

3rd September 2013

Mr. Speaker,

Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti- corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in its activities in the fight against corruption and to enthrone transparency, accountability, probity, and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.

It was reported in the national dallies that the Lagos state government engaged in buying back the rights pertaining to the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway road concession ahead of the 30 year period stipulated in the design, build, operate and transfer(DBOT) concession agreement .

The original concession agreement allows LCC to expand, upgrade and maintain, for the initial stage the 50 kilometre toll road and to build another 20 kilometre coastal road along the Lekki axis. The agreement allows the company to recoup its investments on the road through toll collection from road users for 30 years before transferring it to the state government. LCC commenced collecting tolls in 2011.

According to the Thursday 29th August, 2013 of the Nigeria Tribune, the Government stated that the buyback became necessary as the project had been concluded under some underlying assumptions and market indicators which had since drastically changed in a manner that it can no longer be sustained in its current form. Such include the devaluation of naira and the cost of construction. The report further stated the concessionaire had indicated that there will have to be an increase in the tolls for it to meet the demands of its investors and continue to fund the completion of the remaining sections of the road. In such circumstances the government felt obliged to buy out the interests of the concessionaire in advance of the 2038 handover date under a mutual settlement option.

The punch newspaper in its August 28th 2013 edition reported that the Lagos State House of Assembly has already approved a supplementary budget of N7.5billion to enable the government to fund the acquisition of the existing concession rights of the expressway.

We commend the government on this action, as it would ensure that the residents of Lagos state especially those who resides and transacts business in the concession area do not bear the ash brunt of such unpredictable market forces. We as stakeholders wish to know if the house in approving the supplementary budget considered the following factors:

1. How the amount of N7.5billion was arrived at as the Value of the Concession rights.

2. How much has been spent so far on the construction of the Etiosa-Lekki-Epe expressway vis-a-vis the initial projected costs?

3. How much has been recouped from toll fees on the road since 2011? In addition to N4B paid from Lagos State coffer to LCC in 2012

4. The assessment and review of financial and physical commitment of LCC to the project in arriving at the N7.8B being paid by the government.

5. With the abrupt transfer of ownership and management, what is the transfer process design of the Lagos State Government?

We wish to request that the House make available to us findings on the above issues raised.

As representative of the people in government, it is our believe that Honourable members of the Lagos House of Assembly, in carrying out their duties, make decisions that will always reflect the greater good for the greatest number of the people. And those resources allocated and judiciously scrutinised before allocation and effectively monitored thereafter.

We look forward to your response on this matter.
Yours Sincerely

Olanrewaju Suraju
Chairman, CSNAC