…Fear grips other lawmakers
The long wait appears over as Lagos Speaker Mudashiru Obasa finally a guest at the Lagos Office of the Economic and Financial Cries Commission (EFCC).
According to sources, the embattled Speaker who reported to the Awolowo Road, Ikoyi office of the commission this morning after several invitation, as at 4pm, was still being grilled by operatives who are demanding answers to several allegations of financial malfeasances against him.
Confirming the development in a chat with National Daily, Spokesperson for the EFCC Mr. Wilson Uwujaren said: “Yes, I can confirm to you that the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly Mr. Obasa is at our Lagos office now. And he is there to honour an invitation sent to him.” When asked what allegations the Commission was investigating against Obasa, he declined comments saying it would out of place to make them public.
Meanwhile, there are fears that more lawmakers my soon be picked up by the EFCC, a development that has heightened tension around the Lagos Assembly Complex, as lawmakers were seen discussing in hush tones and later deserted their offices for fear of being arrested.
It will be recalled that Obasa has been involved in barrage of corruption scandals over the years. The alleged circumstances of graft in the Lagos legislature which he presides over appear endless. Legislative season seldom passes without uproar of corruption scandal in the Lagos State House of Assembly, symbolic of festival of kleptomania of the Obasa leadership tenure. The perennial corruption allegations hypothetically depict the speed of the flight of public funds for the development of Lagos State into individual pockets. Service to the state has now turned entrepreneurial venture for individual enrichment.
Speaker Obasa would be contending with the allegation of approving the sum of N258 million for printing of invitation cards used to assemble guests for the inauguration of the Lagos State House of Assembly two months after the inauguration of the state legislature was held.
According to SaharaReporters, the document explicitly stated that the fund was processed on the orders of Obasa for the inauguration of the Ninth House of Assembly which had 34 returning lawmakers and six new members, which was held on June 7, 2019.
It was indicated that the document for the approval and release of funds for the payment of the House of Assembly inauguration invitation cards printing contract was processed two months after the inauguration was held.
SaharaReporters revealed that the document titled “Celebrations and Ceremonies”; was dated August 7, 2019; and partly read as follows: “Being payment approved for the printing of invitation cards during the inauguration of the 9th Assembly as per Hon. Speaker’s approval vide LSHA/LM/C/276.”
It was noted that beside the N258 million scandal, the Lagos Assembly Speaker has allegedly continued to siphon public funds through different means.
Speaker Obasa still has further allegation of using companies owned and linked to him to receive various sums of money from the Lagos State House of Assembly. It was revealed that on February 22, Lagos House of Assembly, through its expenditure account, transferred the sum of N17 million to Wema Bank account of Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Limited.
According to SaharaReporters, a source in the State Legislature revealed that the fund was being transferred monthly to Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Limited following directives from Obasa.
SaharaReporters highlighted that “during checks with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Limited was registered the same year Obasa became Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2015.”
It maintained: “In documents, Obasa sent a letter he received from General Manager of Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Limited, Omoba Adeyinka Oyediran, charging him N25.5 million monthly for the maintenance and provision of other essentials at the Office of the Speaker, residence and guest house.”
The report cited the letter to read in part: “Please refer to our discussion on the need for our company to take up the facility management and provision of other essentials at the office of the Hon. Speaker, residence and guest house.
“Following our in-depth study of what the jobs entail, please see the attached. I wish to inform you that to be able to offer satisfactory performance, the details of the financial requirements of the various jobs on monthly basis are as follows…
“Consequent on the foregoing, kindly approve that the management of the House should henceforth release the above stated sums to the company on monthly basis to facilitate smooth and timely execution of the jobs.”
The report further indicated that Obasa collected N53 million from the state treasury for overseas travel with his mistress to the United States of America.
Sources from the House also disclosed that Speaker Obasa rejected the official residence of the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly at G.R.A. Ikeja, insisting on living in his personal house for which the said monthly allowances are being paid to him.
Moreover, the Assembly source added that Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Limited replaced the contractors who were handling the Assembly complex but were sacked when Obasa became Speaker of the House.
The Lagos Speaker was also alleged to use his position in the State Assembly since 2015 to approve N47.5 million per quarter from the state treasury for social media influencers.
According to SaharaReporters, documents for the transactions showed that the payment was made to a media company for publicity of the activities of the State Assembly.
The Lagos Speaker also encountered the scandal of awarding contracts to himself, through front companies, and launder public funds.
Further report indicated that ownership of some companies used to procure contracts from the Lagos Assembly were traced to Speaker Obasa.
Documents released by SaharaReporters showed that the companies include: Adesav International Ventures, Quick Solution International Ventures, White Honey Enterprises, Cream on Ice Services, A.B DELCO Nigeria Company, and Fabric Splash Ventures.
Others include Skye-Macosh Company, Swifthill International Ventures, Silver Section Global, Davedab Global Ventures and Jose Macosh Company.
According to the report, Obasa was alleged to initially used De Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Limited for securing and executing contracts from the State Assembly and ministries.
The documents were said to indicate that Speaker Obasa is a direct beneficiary at De Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Limited.
“To avoid it being directly linked to him, the Speaker did not use his name to register but used his father, wife and children as shareholders in the company,” SaharaReporters had revealed.
It was further declared: “In the Company and Allied Matters Decree 1990 of De Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Ltd. with RC: A813/08/308 sighted by SaharaReporters, the names listed on the company are Obasa’s father, one of his wives and three of his children.
“As at the time of registration and listing of names, Obasa’s children were underage yet they were registered as businessmen by the Speaker.
“Obasa is the sole signatory to all the bank accounts of the company.”
It was alleged that an account domicile at the Zenith Bank Branch at Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta, Ogun State, has in it hundreds of millions of naira illegally acquired by the Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly.
It was, however noted that “the Public Procurement Act 2007 and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 bars political office holders from issuing contracts to themselves or companies they directly benefit from but these laws are being constantly violated with impunity in the country.”