A former Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Olusegun Banjo, has washed his hands off any wrongdoing in the purchase of 820 buses by the administration immediate past governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, saying the ex-governor acted unilaterally and without recourse to due process.
Mr Banjo made the claim on Tuesday while responding to an invitation by the state’s House of Assembly investigating the purchase of the buses, which they claimed was done by the Ambode-led administration without requisite approval.
Mr Banjo told the 9-man committee set up by the assembly that his ministry had nothing to do with the N45 billion allegedly used purchase the buses.
Mr Banjo said that due process was disregarded under Ambode’s administration adding that the former governor did not give room for ministries to follow established protocols during his administration.
“The way the ministry was structured (under Mr Ambode), it did not allow us to function well,” he said.
“The N24bn 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 added that the Ambode-led administration “was not transparent,” and 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.
Meanwhile, the commissioner for finance, Akinyemi Ashade, and the commissioner for special duties in the Ambode administration, Oladejo Seye, who were also invited by the committee were absent.
The duo, however, wrote to the committee stating that they were out of the country.
Also, Mr Ambode, who was expected to appear before the committee chaired by Fatai Mojeed, did not attend.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, however, said the assembly would give Mr Ambode another chance. He said the House would invite him again through a newspaper publication.
He then stated that if the ex-governor failed to show up, the Assembly would resort to issuing a warrant for his arrest.
Meanwhile, when asked if the fund used to purchase the buses was approved by the State Executive Council, the Accountant-General of Lagos State, Shukrat Umar, answered in the affirmative.
“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 Refund Club was discussed or not,” she said.