More trounle for Ambode as Lagos Assembly begins probe
The Lagos State House of Assembly has inaugurated a committee to probe the administration of ex-Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The committee is mandated to probe the purchase of 820 buses that had been scheduled for public transport in the state.
Chaired by Fatai Mojeed, the committee has Gbolahan Yishawu; Bisi Yusuff; Afinni Olanrewaju; Rasheed Makinde; Yinka Ogundimu; Mojisola Meranda; Temitope Adewale and Kehinde Joseph as members.
The legislators said it was important to investigate the purchase of the 820 buses out of the 5,000 buses proposed by Mr Ambode for mass transit in the state
The House said the purchases were made despite its express objection to it.
In a motion, Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2), noted that at an Executive/Legislative parley at Golden Tulip in FESTAC in September 2017, Mr Ambode informed the lawmakers that 5,000 buses would be bought by the state government.
According to him, the executive proposed to spend N17 billion to purchase the buses in the 2017 budget, but that this 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 that, 520 are still awaiting clearance at the ports,” he said.
Yishawu said it was worrying that 520 buses were still awaiting clearance from the bonded warehouse at the Port and that they were purchased with taxpayers' money without approval.
He said that the House should set up an ad hoc pane to investigate all the issues relating to the purchase of the buses.
Besides, he urged the House to investigate the cost of the purchase to prevent a re-ocurrence.
Speaker Mudashiru Obasa pointed out that the House needed to prevent waste because the deed had already been done.
He said: “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.
The Speaker directed the committee to invite the Accountant-General of the State, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and any other official involved in the purchase to give testimonies on the purchase.
He also told the panel to invite the current Commissioner for Finance, the Managing Director of LAMATA and others.
Thos House probe spells more trounle for Ambode who has been underthe searchlight of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Last week, the operatives of the anti-graft body searched his residences in Ikoyi and Epe as part of an ongoing investigation.