Ambode, former commissioners risk arrest over N70b vehicle purchase scandal

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The Lagos House of Assembly today threatened to issue warrants of arrest on the former governor of the state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and four others who served as his commissioners over N70 billion spent on the purchase of 820 buses.

The decision followed two preliminary reports presented by two different ad-hoc committees set up by the House to investigate the purchase and appraise the 2019 mid-year budget.

The former commissioners are Kazeem Adeniji (attorney general and commissioner for justice); Olusegun Banjo (commissioner for budget); Akinyemi Ashade (commissioner for finance) and Wale Oluwo (commissioner for energy and mineral resources).

Presenting the preliminary report of a nine-man ad hoc committee to probe purchase of the vehicles, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Fatai Mojeed said findings showed that due process was not followed in the transaction.

Mojeed said the former governor used the refund of the Paris Club for the purchase of the buses without the approval of the House.

“He did not inform the House before commencing the purchase of the buses.

“Over N48 billion was spent for the purchase of the busses and N22 Billion was spent on import duties. 520 of the buses are still at the seaport,” said Mojeed.

He further said the accountant general of the state told the committee that she depended on Ambode’s approval for the purchase of the buses and no payment voucher was made available to the committee.

Mojeed also said the committee discovered that there was no budget instrument used for the purchase of the buses.

“They could not produce any newspaper where the purchase of the buses was advertised.

“The committee invited 20 stakeholders, 16 of them complied, while four of them refused against the constitutional provision,” he added.

Also speaking, the chairman, ad hoc committee on mid-term review, Mr. Gbolahan Yishawu, alleged that the ex- commissioners were invited by his committee.

He said the commissioners refused to appear and did not give any excuses for their absence.

Yishawu also claimed that the former governor gave some directives on spending without the approval of the lawmakers.

Reacting to the issue, some lawmakers suggested that since Ambode and those officials who worked with him refused to honour the committees’ invitations, warrant of arrest should be issued on them.

Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said: “I want to observe that if they have been invited and refuse to show up, we should summon them and if they still refuse, then a warrant of arrest can be issued. Now they’ve been invited, we should summon them by using the dailies before going to the extent of issuing arrest warrant,” said the majority leader, Mr. Sanai Agunbiade

Responding, the speaker, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, noted that the issue was beyond arrest warrant, “because when this house invites people and they refuse to show up, it’s like setting a bad precedent for others coming behind.

“The clerk should write them including the ex-governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and if they refuse, we will do newspaper publications and after that we will issue a warrant of arrest,” he said.

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