former governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode , and four others who served in his government could be up for arrest if the threat by the state House of Assembly takes effect.
We understand that the lawmakers took this decision after two preliminary reports presented by different ad-hoc committees set up by the House to investigate the 820 buses purchased by the former governor and to appraise the 2019 mid year budget.
Those that could be affected by the arrest include Kazeem Adeniji (attorney general and commissioner for Justice), Olusegun Banjo (commissioner for budget), Akinyemi Ashade (commissioner for finance) and Wale Oluwo (commissioner for energy and mineral resources).
The chairman of one of the sub-committee, Fatai Mojeed, who presented his team’s preliminary report on probe of the 820 buses purchased by Ambode’s government, said that it was discovered that due process was not followed.
According to Hon Mojeed, Ambode used the refund of the Paris Club for the purchase of the buses without the approval of the House.
“He did not inform the House before commencing the purchase of the buses. Over N48 billion was spent for the purchase of the busses and N22 billion were spent on import duties. 520 of the buses are still at the seaport,” Mojeed said.
The report also showed that the accountant general of the state told the committee that she depended on the approval of Ambode for the purchase of the buses and that no payment voucher was made available to the committee.
Mojeed told his colleagues that the committee also demanded for the budget instrument used for the purchase, but that there was none.
“They could not produce any newspaper where the purchase of the buses were advertised. The committee invited 20 stakeholders, 16 of them complied, while four of them refused against the constitutional provision,” he added.
Presenting his own committee report, Hon Gbolahan Yishawu claimed that the affected commissioners were invited but that they refused to appear and did not give any reason for their absence.
The lawmaker noted that Ambode issued some directives on spending without the approval of the lawmakers.
Suggesting that a warrant of arrest be issued on the governor and former commissioners, Hon Bisi Yusuff, noted that the House is empowered by the constitution to issue a warrant of arrest on them for their refusal to appear before the committees.
However, his colleague, Ibrahim Layode, urged his colleagues to act with caution as he advised the House to invite the governor and the former commissioners through newspaper advertisements.
On his part, Sanai Agunbiade said: “I want to observe that if they have been invited and refuse to show up, we should summon them and if they still refuse, then a warrant of arrest can be issued.
“Now they’ve been invited, we should summon them by using the dailies before going to the extent of issuing arrest warrant.”
Rounding off the debate, speaker of the House, Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, noted that the issue was beyond issue of arrest warrant.