Ambode sidelined my ministry, acted in defiance to operational norm — Ex-commissioner

A Former Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Olusegun Banjo has disclosed that the former Lagos state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode sidelined his ministry and acted in defiance to the operational norm.

The Ex-commissioner made this disclosure while appearing before an ad hoc committee set up by the Lagos State House of Assembly to probe the immediate-past governor over the shoddy and inappropriate manner the buses were procured.

Ambode, having been allegedly summoned was expected to appear on Tuesday before the 16-man committee chaired by Fatai Mojeed, but he did not show up, while the immediate-past Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade and Commissioner for Special Duties, Seye Oladejo wrote to the committee explaining that they were out of the country.

Banjo, who served under Ambode as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, however, said his former principal shunned the procurement tradition he met on the ground.

Olusegun said that the erstwhile Governor did not carry his ministry along as regards the purchase of the mass transit buses.

“The way the ministry was structured under Ambode, it did not allow us to function well.

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“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.”

The ex-commissioner said Ambode’s administration was not transparent that a lot of things were 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,” Banjo said.

When asked if the budget for the purchase of the buses was approved by the State Executive Council, the Former Accountant-General of Lagos State, Mrs Shukrat Umar said that the State Treasury Office acted on Exco’s approval.

She, however, stated that she was not aware of the discussion regarding the Paris Refund Club.

“The buses were in line with Exco’s approval.

“I would not know whether the Paris Refund Club was discussed or not,” Mrs Shukrat said

Meanwhile, The Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, said the House would invite Ambode through a newspaper publication.

Obasa noted that the Assembly would resort to issuing a warrant for his arrest if the ex-governor failed to show up.

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