Lagos State House of Assembly Tuesday set up a committee to probe the purchase of 820 buses for public transportation in the state by the administration of immediate past Governor of the State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode
The Assembly during a plenary session constituted the committee to investigate the purchase of 820 buses by the former governor’s administration.
It stated that it was important to investigate the purchase of the 820 buses out of the 5,000 buses proposed by the Ambode’s administartion for mass transit in the state, but which was purchased despite objection by the House of Assembly.
Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2), brought the motion titled, “Lagos State House of Assembly Motion Number 2” to investigate the former governor.
According to the lawmaker, the House noted that at the Executive/ Legislative parley held at Golden Tulip in FESTAC in September 2017, Ambode informed the lawmakers that 5,000 buses would be bought by the state government.
He added that 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 them 520 are still awaiting clearance at the ports,” he said.
The lawmaker sttaed that the House was worried that 520 buses were still awaiting clearance from the bonded warehouse and the Port, waiting to be cleared, and that they were purchased with taxpayers’ money without approval.
Hon. Yishawu then submitted that the House should set up an adhoc 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-occurence.
“The state government requested waivers for the importation of the buses and it was not granted.
‘The value of the buses were overrated. Some of the buses are still in the ports and they are attracting demurrage.
“N45 Billion would be spent on the total purchase of the buses and we need to prevent such an occurrence in the future,” he added.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said in his submission that the House needed to prevent waste because the expenditure had 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.
“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,” he said.
The House subsequently set up a committee headed by Hon. Fatal Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki 1) to look into the matter and report to the House in due course.
Members of the committee, according to the Speaker included Hon. 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.
The Speaker directed 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 state what they knew about the purchase.
He also told them to invite the current Commissioner for Finance, the Managing Director of LAMATA and others.
In his contribution, Hon. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege 2) stated that the House needed to investigate every transaction that had to do with the procurement of the buses.
He added that It would become a bad precedent if the House didn’t do anything about the matter.
“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.
Also speaking, Hon. Rasheed Makinde stated that it was obvious that the last administration did a lot of misdeed in awarding contracts.
Makinde stressed that some of these included Vision Scape and the proposed fourth mainland bridge.
“The House rejected the proposal on the buses, yet they went on to spend N45 Billion on the project.
“Since we did not approve the contract expenditure is null and void, so the money should be refunded.
“The Account General of the State, Procurement Officer and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation must be called to speak on the matter,” he said.