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November 20, 2023 at 2:10 PM #60347justseyiKeymaster
Inside Sanwo-Olu’s Questionable 2023 Contracts
In an open letter written to the Lagos State Government, Funsho Doherty, the 2023 governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party, called public attention to some obscure projects awarded to contractors by the Lagos State Government in the second quarter of 2023.
In a letter that was made public, it was revealed that the state government spent N7.4 million to replace the liquid fragrance in the governor’s office, N2.02 billion to replace rechargeable lamps and fans in the deputy governor’s office, and N535,500,000 to renovate a church. These expenditures have been deemed inappropriate and have caused concern.
Furthermore, upon examining the state’s procurement records, it was discovered that the government allocated funds to ministries that awarded contracts for projects that were their core responsibilities.
A thorough investigation by the FIJ has revealed that Lagos State’s debt as of June 2023, according to the Debt Management Office, is N996,440,044,235.35.
With this figure in debt, it is expected that government expenditures are optimal. However, FIJ found that some of the projects awarded by the government between May and October 2023 may reveal otherwise.
Some of the poignant expenses are N1.7 billion for purchasing vehicles for the Office of the Chief of Staff’s Carpool, N17 million for refitting Bola Tinubu’s ferry, and N54 million for cleaning and maintaining the statehouse, among other questionable expenditures, according to the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency.
MAY 2023: N18.5m FOR CHICKENS TO THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF, N1.7M FOR INTERVIEW CONSULTANCY
In May 2023, the Lagos State Government awarded approximately N18.5 million to the office of the Governor’s Chief of Staff to purchase and distribute 2000 Noiler chickens across the local government areas in the state. The project was awarded to Seed and Seedlings Enterprise, but the entity is listed as inactive by the Corporate Affairs Commission, violating Section 822 (1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA 2020) which requires all entities to file annual returns with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) by June 30th. As of the time of this report, the company had not fulfilled this requirement. According to the Lagos State procurement law, contracts can only be awarded to entities that have fulfilled all their obligations to pay taxes, pension, and social security contributions.
In the same month of May, the Lagos State awarded N1.7 million to a consultancy service for an interview on Channels. The State consulted Bekanni Limited to discuss and analyze state debt and budget funding, which is the responsibility of the state’s Ministry of Finance.
Honorable mentions in May also include the award of N2.1 billion and N3.1 billion under the State’s Ministry of Transportation for consultancy services on the blue and red rail line projects, respectively.
JUNE 2023: N400m LEXUS, 10 OTHER VEHICLES FOR THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF; SEVEN MILLION FOR LIQUID FRAGRANCE
First, the state government allocated N80,841,103 for the purchase of 10 units of foreign-used vehicles for the office of the chief of staff alone. As a standalone expenditure, the project may not be too flagrant, especially since the office is pivotal for executive support.
However, in the same month, the state government allocated another N440,750,000 to the same office for the purchase of a brand new Lexus, not as an official car, but as one of the vehicles in the carpool of the chief of staff.
Also in June, the government allocated N20,804,500 to the office of the chief of staff to decorate the meeting venue for political delegates’ congress.
The contract was awarded to Equally Diverse Solutions, a business with an almost non-existent digital footprint save the name of its owner. Bolaji Durojaiye, the founder of Equally Diverse Solutions, was part of the 22-member inauguration committee for the swearing-in ceremony of the governor.
Also in the same month, the government awarded N7,475,000 to ARC44 to replace liquid fragrance in the office of the state governor. Aside from the peculiarity of this contract, the state government violated procurement requirements by awarding it to ARC44, which was only recently founded in February 2023.
JULY 2023: N 2 BILLION FOR RECHARGEABLE FANS, N1.7 MILLION FOR GOVERNOR’S PORTRAITS
The government’s most questionable contract was worth N2,017,840,000 and was awarded for the purchase of rechargeable fans, fridges and lights for the governor’s office. For a project of this magnitude, the awardee is expected to follow procurement laws and business practices. However, the state government may have violated procurement laws by awarding the contract to Judkom Enterprises. The awardee is a new company that is barely three years old and listed as inactive on the CAC website.
By doing so, Judkom Enterprises violated Section 822 (1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA 2020), which mandates all entities to file annual returns with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) by June 30 every year.
But that’s not all. Xian Integrated Service Limited was awarded N1.7 million to produce new portraits of the governor and the deputy governor. Additionally, the state government awarded an undisclosed amount to Caverton Helicopters for the flying expenses of ad-hoc charter planes.
Furthermore, Rodies Logistics was allocated N30 million for monthly empowerment programmes of the Office of the Deputy Governor’s Wife. The governor’s wife also received N30 million for a monthly outreach programme to indigent citizens. This is despite the non-existence of the office in the Nigerian constitution.
In July, the government also spent N2,820,000 to purchase reed diffusers for the governor’s lodge, and N1.2 million to compile and produce the speech of the deputy governor over a four-year period.
AUGUST: ANOTHER POOL OF CARS TO THE CHIEF OF STAFF, N54 MILLION FOR CLEANING AND MAINTAINING THE STATE HOUSE
In August 2023, the Lagos House and the Presidential Lodge in Marina alone got about N54 million of taxpayers’ money for cleaning, maintenance and decoration.
In breakdown, N18,273,500 was awarded to upgrade and maintain the lawn and beautify the Lagos State House and the Presidential Lodge. In another project line, N13,052,500 was awarded for upgrading, maintaining and beautifying the lawn on the premises of the state house and the presidential lodge. Another N21,111,575 was allocated for cleaning the same buildings in the same month.
Also, the state government awarded another N111,5000,000 to Caverton Helicopters for ad-hoc plane charter by the Lagos State Government that month.
The chief of staff’s vehicle pool got another 10 County buses in August for N600,000,005.50. It also got another 20 brand-new Ashok Leyland Falcon buses at a total cost of N99,976,075.
SEPTEMBER: 2.5 MILLION TO POLISH THE FLOOR OF THE EXECUTIVE CHAMBER, 73 MILLION TO PRODUCE PORTRAITS
In September 2023, the Lagos State Government awarded N2.5 million to Matotex Integrated Services for polishing the floor of the meeting rooms and soundproof wooden doors of the executive chamber.
The same month, the Lagos State Government allocated another money for portraits. This time around, the description was rather ambiguous. A total of N73.1 million was awarded to Flolizvi Connect to print presidential and gubernatorial portraits. It is unclear how many portraits the governor’s office needs and how many governors the portraits will be printed for.
An honorable mention in November would be the state government’s procurement of outdoor LED colour display and equipment for N8 million.
OCTOBER 2023: MORE VEHICLES FOR THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF, 17 MILLION FOR BOLA TINUBU’S FERRY
According to the procurement records of Lagos State, a contract worth N17,930700 was awarded for retrofitting ‘Mr. Bola Tinubu’s Ferry’ in October under the Lagos State Ferry Service. Additionally, in the same month, the state government granted a sum of N473,305,843.82 to Lakeside Investment for the purchase of two units of Toyota Land Cruiser, to be used in the chief of staff’s office. The procurement records reveal that over 40 vehicles were allocated to the office alone within the span of six months.
Moreover, the government allotted N16.8 million to the Lagos State Ministry of Justice for a stakeholders meeting with monarchs, traditional rulers, and chiefs in local government areas across the state in October 2023. This contract was awarded to NASKUB Nigeria Enterprises. However, FIJ’s investigation found that the enterprise has no digital footprint and does not exist according to the Corporate Affairs Commission’s website. As per the Lagos State Procurement Agency, the business is not eligible for a government contract, as a certificate of registration is a mandatory requirement for businesses that bid for government contracts.
Finally, the Office of the Deputy Governor alone got a sum of N49,922,974.39 for renovation and the purchase of upholstery.
Funsho Doherty’s letter has sparked public interest and multiple discussions about the Lagos State expenditure. Most importantly, however, it raises questions about the financial consciousness and transparency of the procurement process in the Lagos State Government.
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