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Group drags Lagos Speaker, Obasa, to EFCC over alleged corrupt practices

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Embattled Lagos Speaker, Obasa recalls suspended lawmakers amid corruption allegations
Honourable Mudashiru Obasa

The Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA), a non-governmental organisation, has accused Honourable Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, of being reckless with funds meant for development, THE WITNESS reports.

In a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), and signed by its executive director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, HURMA called on the anti-graft agency to investigate and prosecute Hon. Obasa for “gross financial misconduct and abuse of office allegedly perpetrated by the speaker so as to avert a further bleeding of the public treasury under his care and restore sanity in the functioning of the state’s legislative establishment.”

Specifically, HURMA urged the anti-graft agency to probe Hon. Obasa’s alleged financial recklessness and cornering of public funds through illegitimate means; and the alleged corruption and compromise of laid down procedures and rules deliberately foisted on the workforce of the assembly.

Some of the allegations raised by HURMA against the speaker are:

“Purchase of a bullet-proof car at a market value of less than N100 Million, and the inflation of its price to N300 million. Apart from being inflated by a whopping 200 per cent, the purchase of the vehicle was done in a questionable manner contrary to procurement acts. This constitutes a flagrant abuse of office and the exercise of privilege with impunity in a country where majority of the citizens live on less than a dollar a day.

“Unilateral purchase of 40 cars for members of the assembly with neither prior discussion with members nor official approval by the house. We have it on good authority that the vehicles were imported by a notable politician for a failed political project. The speaker procured those vehicles and has since refused to either release their papers to the supposed beneficiaries or tender their receipt for retirement into the assembly’s accounts for obvious reasons as the cost of the vehicles is only known to the speaker.

“Purchase of 11 other vehicles without bidding, advertisement and rules and regulations guiding procurement or legislative approval. This is disdain for public accountability and established checks and balances.

“Use of fictitious companies as fronts for cornering public contracts and fleecing of public funds. The most notorious of these companies is a certain De-Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Limited with CAC No: RC 748741 where all his six children are shareholders. A probe of the businesses of the house since his leadership should reveal how notoriously Obasa has been breaching public trust by diverting contracts and projects into companies of his interest with the active connivance of the clerk of the house, Mr. Azeez Sanni Adebowale.

“Compromise of operational procedures, creation of an extra-legal hierarchy and privileging cronies at the expense of the system. This is by far the greatest calamity to befall the Lagos State House of Assembly under Obasa’s watch. Regulatory procedures have been in most cases set aside with the connivance of the clerk of the house with the ill-intent of carrying out governmental business for private gains and as a private concern. With these tactics, Obasa created an extra-legal hierarchy within the workforce of the state’s assembly where his cronies (including a concubine of his, popularly called Madam Speaker) reign supreme. It was on good authority that the girl named Nike Ajibose was promoted to level 9 without promotional exams because of immoral relationship with the Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, she recently traveled to United Kingdom with N9 million of LSHA money not approved  but more importantly is the using the girl for money laundering activities.

“The recent allegation of illegal 2.4 billion naira spent within 11 months to purchase 80 cars for 40 members of LSHA must be thoroughly investigated by your establishment that remains the best anti-graft agency in Africa.”

While urging the EFCC to give its petition speedy consideration, HURMA further said that the actions and activities of Hon. Obasa at the Lagos State House of Assembly is detrimental to the interest of the people of Lagos State and his primary constituency which elected him to serve.

“It is also breach of public trust and a dent on the anti-corruption drive of the party (APC) and the government to which he belongs, hence the need to have him investigated and put under public scrutiny and account before further damage is done to the collective patrimony of Lagosians,” HURMA noted.

 

Hon. Obasa reacts

In line with THE WITNESS investigative journalism practice, our reporter contacted Tolani Abati, the chief press secretary to Hon. Obasa, for his reactions to the allegations.

In his response, the speaker denied allegations of illegal purchase of vehicles through a statement by Hon. Rotimi Olowo, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Shomolu Constituency 1 but did not address the issue of a company, De-Kingrun Multipurpose Nigeria Limited which HURMA alleged is owned and used by Hon. Obasa to perpetuate fraud.

Hon. Olowo was quoted to have said on the floor of the house during plenary on Monday March 16th, 2020, that the purchase of the official vehicles for members was not shrouded in secrecy by the leadership of the house, stressing that “they practically begged the speaker to buy sport utility vehicles (SUVs).”

“It was stated that the house bought vehicles worth N2.4 billion. Since I joined the House of Assembly, we always got two vehicles before the end of the assembly.

“In 2007, I got a vehicle and a backup vehicle before the end of the assembly. The vehicles are always budgeted for and it has been like that right from the time of Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji.

“We would always tell the speaker that the 8th assembly could not wind up without a backup vehicle for each of the members.

“The speaker used to tell us that the resources were not available and we later got the back-up in April 2019.

“In the 9th assembly, we just got our official vehicles in November/December 2019.

“None of the 11 new members got two vehicles. We insisted on Prado Jeep and Mr. Speaker didn’t want to give us, but we insisted on it.

“We are all beneficiaries of the largesse and yet we go about making insinuations and leaking information to the whole world,” Olowo said.

Olowo was further quoted to have said that the petition was full of lies meant to soil the leadership of the house and against the good image of the house.

“We also said that the buses that we were using for committee work were bad and we insisted that he should buy a new set and he did.”

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INVESTIGATION

Embattled Lagos Speaker, Obasa recalls suspended lawmakers amid corruption allegations

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Embattled Lagos Speaker, Obasa recalls suspended lawmakers amid corruption allegations
Lagos Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa

The Lagos State House of Assembly led by the embattled speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, on Thursday, 26th March, 2020 lifted the suspension of two lawmakers, Moshood Oshun and Raheem Kazeem, THE WITNESS learnt.

Hon. Obasa, made the announcement at the start of plenary activities on the floor of the House.

According to Obasa, the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, called a meeting earlier in the week to intervene in the matter.

The Speaker said at the meeting, it was agreed that the House should reinstate the suspended lawmakers.

Recall that aside the suspension of the two members, two other principal officers, Olumuyiwa Jimoh and Rotimi Abiru, who were the former Deputy Majority Leader and the Chief Whip, respectively, were relieved of their offices.

Recall also that the sanctions was slammed against them by their colleagues on Monday, 9 March, 2020.

Hon. Obasa has been battling allegations of fraud for weeks now.

Recall, THE WITNESS reported that a non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA),  recently accused the Lagos Assembly speaker of being reckless with funds meant for development.

In a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), and signed by its executive director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, the group called on the anti-graft agency to investigate and prosecute Hon. Obasa for “gross financial misconduct and abuse of office allegedly perpetrated by the speaker so as to avert a further bleeding of the public treasury under his care and restore sanity in the functioning of the state’s legislative establishment.”

Specifically, HURMA urged the anti-graft agency to probe Hon. Obasa’s alleged financial recklessness and cornering of public funds through illegitimate means; and the alleged corruption and compromise of laid down procedures and rules deliberately foisted on the workforce of the assembly.

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INVESTIGATION

COVID-19: Panic over Abba Kyari’s health as more ‘critical’ details emerge

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COVID-19: Panic over Abba Kyari's health as more 'critical' details emerge

There is panic over the health of the chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, as sources say he has other ailments that can hamper his rate of recovery from Coronavirus.

The Punch reports that doctors attending to Kyari, have obtained his medical records from Wellington Hospital, St. John’s Wood, London. “Abba Kyari’s medical records have been sent via email from Wellington Hospital where he goes for his check-up and also gets his treatment.

“He has some other health conditions which will be kept confidential. We are hoping for the best”, the source told

The Wellington Hospital, located in North London, deals with Brain surgery, Cardiac care, Orthopaedic care, Spinal care, Women’s health, Urology care and others.

Kyari was tested positive for coronavirus Tuesday.

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INVESTIGATION

COVID-19 in Nigeria is political, full of lies and fraud – Kogi gov, Bello

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COVID-19 in Nigeria is political, full of lies and fraud - Kogi gov, Bello

Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has said that the reported spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria is political, full of lies and an avenue for political office holders and corrupt officials to embezzle and steal the nation’s resources, THE WITNESS reports.

The governor disclosed this in a post on his verified Facebook page on Wednesday while denying rumours that he tested positive to the virus.

“Please stay at home and stay safe. I got NO Covid. It’s fake news. People of Kogi State, I love you all. Don’t mind the political aspect of COVID-19, maximum of 21 days, COVID-19 will disappear.

“Don’t panic, if you have catarrh (fluid), take hot water with garlic, ginger, lemon, lime and steam yourself, you will be good.

“There are a lot of lies, politics about COVID-19, I will not play with that. I will not play with my people’s life or pretend and steal money because of this so-called pandemic. Please, stay safe.

“I’m good, strong, hale and hearty. If COVID-19 comes to Kogi State, you have a governor who will combat and defeat the idiot.

“I can assure you, 90 percent noise about COVID-19 is political and economic financial material thing,” the governor disclosed.

SEE LINK FOR VIDEO: KOGI GOVERNOR, YAHAYA BELLO SPEAKS ON COVID-19

 

Malam Abba Kyari, President Buhari’s Chief of staff, now stricken by coronavirus, had contacts with many people since his return from Germany 14 March. One of his contacts was the Kogi State governor.

Kyari visited Bello on 17 March, to deliver Buhari’s message to the governor at the prayers marking the eigh days since the death of his mum.

Lai Mohammed, Akume, Shehu were all at the event.

Kyari reportedly travelled to Munich, Germany, on Saturday, March 7th, to meet with officials of Siemens over the Nigerian electricity expansion programme.

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