Analysis by 1st News into the bank accounts of the Lagos State House of Assembly has exposed an unspeakable spectre of dubious outlays of taxpayers’ money amongst lawmakers, spearheaded by Speaker Mudashiru Obasa.
It was garnered that the Lagos State Assembly lawmakers executed N300million in dual card transactions on August 3.
Also revealed was over N243 million in suspicious debits within a few hours on January 11; as well as nearly N500 million in cash withdrawals on the eve of the state parliamentary elections; including N107 million on election day.
These findings reinforced suspicions that authorities in the nation’s commercial capital have been reluctant to publish its financial records; mainly as a way to conceal their squandering of public patrimony.
Over the past eight weeks, Mudashiru Obasa, the Lagos House Speaker, has been fighting to extricate himself from separate corruption charges. The charges were instituted by the EFCC following a series of reports by Sahara Reporters.
According to the statement, most of the transactions were carried out using Amos Ajayi — a suspected pseudonym of Mr. Obasa’s.
The Speaker’s full name is Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, and Assembly sources said they could not strike any familiarity with ‘Amos.’
Between January and December 2019, Lagos lawmakers spent N9.7 billion in unexplained running costs; according to bank documents analysed by 1st News.
This saw 143 transactions from the assembly’s imprest accounts with Polaris Bank, Providus Bank and Wema Bank, purposes of which were either vaguely marked as running costs without any explanations.
The bank documents tabling details of transactions over the 12-month period show how N486 million was withdrawn March 5 and 9, 2019, out of which N107 million was withdrawn on the day of parliamentary elections on March 9 — a Saturday.
Furthermore, there was an activity of suspicious card withdrawals from an account the Assembly operates with Polaris Bank.
On August 3, 2019, N300 million was moved into two tranches of N150 million each through Polaris Bank.
Barely seven weeks later on September 19, another N238 million was moved in a single transaction from the Polaris account: 4030013464.
The lawmakers handled N9,685,214,640.00 in running costs transactions between January and December 2019, using six bank accounts with Polaris — 4030013464, 1750043294 — Providus — 1400162239, 1400252637 — and Wema — 0122319217, 0121685564
Polaris Bank is yet to issue an official statement regarding these allegations.
The N9.7 billion spent by Lagos lawmakers in 2019 only covered three bank accounts linked to their so-called running cost. It was unclear whether the Assembly has other bank accounts that hold its running cost.
The amount also did not reflect other larger spending on capital projects, including constituting appropriations, amongst the lawmakers.
In 2020, the Assembly approved N13.6 billion for capital projects alone, most of which would be spent without public accountability.
Lagos authorities have constantly rebuffed requests invoked under the 2011 Freedom of Information Act by residents and public interest think-tanks to open its book, preferring instead a terse accounting structure where only line items are disclosed in annual budget estimates.