By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, has described the report that the Assembly spent N47.5million on social media influencers as ‘uncharitable and unfounded’.
Braimoh said that money was spent on publicity and public relations as there are television programmes the Assembly pay for.
“It is most uncharitable to say we spent N47.5million for social media influencers. We spend money on publicity and public relations.
“We have programmes that we pay for on TVC and LTV 8. We have a magazine that we produce and we print 40,000 copies quarterly which are distributed to schools and other places and we pay for the content, design and production,” he said.
The lawmaker said this on Saturday while responding to questions from the investigative panel set up by the House to investigate the corruption allegations levelled against the Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa.
Also, Braimoh said that while a media parley was held by the House, he did not know how much was spent on the event since different people handled different aspects of the event.
“We provided hospitality for the people that came. The event involved other things, there were catering and others that were given to other people to handle”, said Braimoh.
The Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni also defended the estacode for the trip to the United States of America, saying that it followed the standard procedure, and that the programme was budgeted for under conferences and seminars.
“We did not buy 11 buses, we bought eight Hiace buses for committee assignments.
“The cost exceeded N100 Million and it was approved by the Management Committee of the House. It was also approved by the Public Procurement Agency and the Ministerial Tenders Board and we got a Certificate of Compliance for the purchase.
“The buses are in place at the car park. We have budgetary provision for the vehicles.
“The women trip to Dubai was also approved for in the budget. The Speaker was there, the wife of the Deputy Speaker was there and wives of 17 other lawmakers. Each participant got money for air fare, local transportation and others,” he said.
Sanni also cleared the air on N258 Million for printing of invitation card, saying that the money for the whole event was N61 Million and that only N1.1 million was spent for the printing of the programme for the event.
He confirmed that 80 cars were bought in 11 months for the 8th and 9th assemblies.
“We bought 40 Corolla Cars back-up vehicles for the 8th Assembly.
“The purchase was approved by the Fund Management Committee (FMC) led by the Speaker with Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, Saka Fafunmi, Hon. David Setonji and others as members.
“In the 9th Assembly, we bought Toyota Prado for members and this was approved by the Funds Management Committee headed by the Speaker.
“The issue of the vehicle was discussed at the various parliamentary meetings and it was unanimously agreed by the members.
“We bought 36 Prado Jeeps for members and it went through the PPA and we have Compliance Certificate for the purchase.
“We also bought six Land Cruisers for the Principal Officers approved by the FMC and PPA with Certificate of Compliance.
“On women empowerment programmes. We raised a submission for the programme and it was recognised by the Assembly budget. It was not paid into the account of the wife of the Speaker. The facility manager has no relationship with the Speaker of the House,” he said.
The Clerk of the House, however said that some documents might have been released to SaharaReporters “through some disgruntled staffers of the House.
“We have been taking steps on that and we have transferred some staff.
“The files go through many tables and there is no doubt that some devilish staffers take pictures of some of these documents and send to these people.
“The staff have taken oaths and this attracts dismissal. Unofficial disclosure of information attracts dismissal in the civil service,” he stated.
Two officials of Zenith Bank; Mr. John Olorundare, Chief Compliance Officer, and the Zonal Head of Alausa, Mr. Sanmi Idowu Awe also appeared before the panel.
The bank officials stated that an individual could only have one BVN.
They confirmed that different account names could not be used for one BVN and that Obasa had only six accounts with Zenith Bank.
According to them, only two of the accounts are operational; one savings and one current, while the rest are dormant.