By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, on Saturday told the investigative panel raised by the House that the corruption allegations against him by his enemies were targeted at pulling him down at all cost.
He said the reports by an online media (SaharaReporters) were unfounded.
Obasa who appeared before the 9-man Fact Finding Panel headed by Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo Constituency 1), stated that his approval limit as the Speaker of the House is N100million.
Fielding questions from panel members, Obasa stressed that the vehicles bought for the members of the House and other expenses made by the House were done with the approval of the House and that of the Fund Management Committee (FMC) of the House headed by him.
“We bought Land Cruisers for Principal Officers of the House. The cars we buy for Principal Officers are always higher than that of other members and we followed the due process in the purchase.
“We went through the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) and the vehicles were distributed appropriately.
“It was agreed at the parliamentary meetings on about four occasions and the Clerk of the House is the Secretary.
“Also, it is not true that my wife collects N10 Million monthly from the House. This is baseless as far as I am concerned. Anyone who says she does should come with proofs and evidences.
“My approval limit as the Speaker of the House is N100 million. Anything above that would have to be approved by the Fund Management Committee. On Prado Jeep that we bought for the members, we followed the due process like we did in that of the Principal Officers,” he said.
Obasa also debunked an allegation that N258 million was spent for the printing of invitation cards for the inauguration of the 9th Assembly.
He stressed that the whole event cost N61 Million and that N1.1 Million was spent to print the invitation cards.
“It is not possible to spend N258 Million to print invitation cards. We are not involved in such a frivolous expenditure,” he added.
On the expenditure of N80 Million as estacode for the training of women in Dubai, the Speaker said that wives of 20 lawmakers attended the event and that he was there to declare the event open.
“We gave N4 Million to each of the participants for air ticket, hotels, feedings and local travel.
“Air ticket to Dubai alone is about N2 million. Some of these allegations were raised for a crusade to get the Speaker out of office.
“The House of Assembly is above common standard of excellence and we have to train people, and this comes with a cost. Learning is not cheap and I have never collected N80 Million for estacode at a go before,” he said.
Defending the purchase of eight Hiace buses for committee works in the Assembly, Obasa said that it was discovered that the House was spending a lot of money to repair vehicles, which he said was why the House decided to buy the buses and that the buses were there for everybody to see with documents to defend the purchases.
The Speaker also denied the allegation that he spent N53 Million for a trip to the United States of America with a mistress.
“We were invited by the Consular General for a programme in the United States. Later, the programme was postponed, but I had gone ahead. I had to return home and I told others not to bother to come until the postponed dates.
Obasa told the committee that it was not possible for him to spend N17 Million for cleaning of his guest house as against the allegation made by SaharaReporters.
“They only remove documents and fly them around to please themselves. All our payments go through certain procedures.
“The expenditure had been there before I became the Speaker. There was no way I could have spent N17 Million on cleaning my guest house.
“On the issue of awarding contracts to companies belonging to me, they should come and show evidence of where I awarded contracts to myself,” he said.
On the report that he tricked former governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state to spend N350 Million for hosting a meeting of Conference of Speakers, Obasa told the panel that it was not possible.
He maintained that such was not possible since Ambode is an accountant, who rose to be the Chief Accountant of the State.
“There was no way I could have tricked Ambode to release such money anyhow. We had a meeting of the Conference of Speakers, who came with three members each and we had subcommittees who were given N2 million each.
“We paid for the tickets of each Speaker, we pay for their hotel accommodation, feeding and souvenirs.
“We also provided local transportation for them. All these allegations are deliberate actions of my enemies to achieve their aims that they could not achieve in the House to remove me as the Speaker of the House, which was why they came up with such reports.
“On N60 Million spent for social influencers, I did not sign such money. I don’t even know the companies they are talking about. The BVN they are flying about is not correct.
“Whatever I have done as a Speaker, all the approvals I gave as Speaker were given based on collective approval of the members of the House,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, who also appeared before the panel denied attending meeting in Dubai as against the report of SaharaReporters.
Members of the fact finding committee present are; Hon. Yinka Ogundimu (Agege 2), Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2), Hon. Lukmon Olumoh (Ajeromi Ifelodun 1) and Hon. Ajani Owolabi (Lagos Mainland 1), Hon. Mojisola Alli-Macaulay (Amuwo Odofin 1), Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) and Hon. Olusola Hakeem Sokunle (Oshodi/Isolo 1).