Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
A former Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Olusegun Banjo, has accused former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of shunning the procurement procedure in the purchase of 820 mass transit buses for N45 billion.
During his appearance on Tuesday before an ad hoc committee set up by the Lagos State House of Assembly to probe the ex governor over the purchase of the buses, Banjo said Mr Ambode also sidelined his ministry in the controversial purchase.
Mr Ambode was expected to appear on Tuesday before the 16-man committee chaired by Mr Fatai Mojeed, but he was absent.
The former Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade and ex Commissioner for Special Duties Oladejo Seye also failed to appear, but they both wrote to the committee explaining that they were out of the country.
Mr Banjo, who served under Ambode as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, said the former governor did not follow the official procurement procedure in the purchase of the buses.
“The way the ministry was structured (under Governor Ambode), it did not allow us to function well. The N24 billion did not come to my ministry. We didn’t have a running system. As a commissioner, I could not approve one naira. All the MDAs approached the Governor directly,” he said.
The ex commissioner said the Ambode administration “was not transparent,” adding that “a lot of things could be done without the knowledge of the commissioners.”
“I don’t know what happens to unbudgeted funds when it comes, because the Ministry of Finance does not inform my ministry; we don’t have a running system,” Mr Banjo said.
But, the Accountant-General of Lagos State, Mrs Shukrat Umar, when asked if the budget for the purchase of the buses was approved by the State Executive Council, said, “The State Treasury Office acted on Exco’s approval. The buses were in line with Exco’s approval. I would not know whether the Paris Club Refund was discussed or not.”