The Lagos State House Assembly has set up a committee to investigate the purchase of 820 buses under former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration.
It stated that it was important to investigate the purchase of the 820 of the 5,000 buses since Ambode proposed an estimated N45b for the state’s mass transit project, in spite of the lawmakers’ objection.
In a motion titled: Lagos State House of Assembly Motion Number 2, Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2), during the 2017 Executive/ Legislative parley that Ambode informed the lawmakers that the state government would buy 5,000 buses.
However, government proposed to spend N17b to purchase the buses in the 2017 budget, which the House did not approve.
“In the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the state government proposed N24b and N7b respectively, which were not also approved, but the state government went ahead to import 820 buses at N7b and out of them 520 are still awaiting clearance at the ports,” he said.
He added that the House was concerned that the 520 buses, which were purchased with taxpayers’ money without approval, were awaiting clearance at the bonded warehouse and the Port.
Yishawu then submitted that the House should set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the issues relating to the purchase of the buses, adding that the House should investigate the purchase of the buses and other issues surrounding it to prevent a re-occurrence.
Responding, Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa stressed the need to prevent future occurrence because the money had been spent.
“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 at the ports. We should get the buses to the roads and prevent the state from further waste,” he said.
Consequently, the House set up a committee headed by Fatal Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki 1) to look into the matter and report to the House in due course.
Obasa directed the committee to invite Accountant General of the state, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and others involved in the purchase to explain what they knew about the purchase.
He also summoned the Commissioner for Finance, Managing Director of LAMATA and others.
Speaking, Ogundimu pointed out that the House needed to investigate every transaction that had to do with the procurement of the buses, adding that it would be a bad precedent if the House fails to do anything about the matter.
Other lawmakers, including Makinde and Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu 1) argued that purchase of the buses flouted section 120 of the 1999 Constitution.
When contacted, Ambode’s media aide, Habib Aruna, neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message sent to his mobile telephone.