- Anti-graft agency asked to investigate Lagos N500bn debt
A group of activists under the aegis of the Coalition of Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN over alleged “questionable expenditures and contracts” awarded during his eight-year tenure in the state.
In a petition dated August 10, 2015, signed by CSNAC Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, which the coalition sent to the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, it demanded that the probe of Fashola should begin with his purported spending of N78million on a personal website.
While the firm that handled the website claimed that it was paid N10million, the state government has maintained that it paid N78million for the project.
A firm had last weekend disclosed that before he left office, Fashola had approved the sum of N78.3million public funds for the upgrade of his personal website.
The contract for the upgrade of the website was awarded by the office of the Chief of Staff to Fashola.
The coalition also prayed EFCC to look into the N1.2billion the Fashola administration spent on the construction of pedestrian bridges along Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway, arguing that he declined to give the number of bridges involved.
Other projects that CSNAC want the commission to beam its searchlight on, are the wall signage contract in three magistrate courts put at N17million; the N3.46billion spent on the beach resort in Ilase and N61million disbursed for a Range Rover Sport Utility Van, SUV, and two Toyota Hilux trucks as the official vehicles of the state’s chief judge.
Besides, the group also asked the EFCC to probe the former governor’s spending of N85million to repair and replace street signs; N330million on the development of the residence of the former deputy governor, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and N94million spent on printer consumables.
The coalition’s petition against Fashola may have been prompted by revelations by a similar group, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, whose Executive Director, Debo Adeniran, recently claimed that his organisation’s investigation revealed that the 1.36 kilometre Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge cost N6billion and not the N25billion stated by the Fashola administration.
Adeniran had stated that several petitions written to the EFCC to probe the various projects in the state in the face of the more than N500billion debt left by the former governor were being ignored.
Also, the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project, SERAP, had claimed that the state refused to disclose details of the $200million World Bank education fund during Fashola’s tenure.
Consequently, Suraju said: “CSNAC is hereby requesting that these allegations against the former governor of Lagos State be thoroughly investigated and the falsity or verity proven.
“We would like to believe that this petition would be given utmost attention as speculations in the media and among the general public is that members of the governing party currently enjoy special consideration and therefore not investigated by the anti-corruption agencies.
“This perception, if allowed to fester, will be detrimental and dangerous to the spirit of the new wave in the fight against corruption led by the current administration,” he said.
When Nigerian Pilot contacted EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on the petition against Fashola, he simply said that such documents don’t come to his office. Uwujaren said if there were any petition against Fashola, he was not aware except he finds out.