Olusegun Banjo, a former commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in the immediate past administration in Lagos State, has said that no invitation was extended to him from the State House of Assembly.
Banjo said in a statement on Friday that he was ready to respond to give account of his stewardship as a commissioner.
”I refer to page 9 of the Punch Newspaper of October 11, 2019 and other media publications, on the threat of the Lagos State House of Assembly to effect the arrest of the former Governor and four former commissioners that served with him.
”This is on the ground that they refused to honour the invitation of the House to appear before its committee probing the purchase of 820 buses during the tenure of the administration.
”As the commissioner in charge of budget at the time, this publication of the proceedings of the State House of Assembly came as a surprise. At no time was any invitation extended to me to appear before any committee of the house,” he said.
Banjo said that though he was not expecting any invitation as he was never part of the bus purchase and Implementation Committee set up by the former governor before his appointment as a commissioner.
”I would gladly have responded to any invitation addressed to me by the House or any anti-corruption group looking into the matter or any matter concerning the period of my service,” the former commissioner said.
Banjo said that on seeing the publication, he called the Clerk of the House, who informed him that the invitation was sent to his former ministry.
He said that he asked the clerk why no one called to inform him before going to the press, as their telephone numbers and email addresses were public document.
According to him, the clerk apologised and requested for his residential address, which he sent to him immediately.
”I wish to correct the insinuation in the publications that I deliberately avoided the House of Assembly.
”I also want to state my readiness to appear before any of its committees, as this is the least required of me as a citizen of Lagos State and someone who has occupied public position in the past.
”I agree completely with the stance of the House for probity and accountability for those that held public offices in all arms of government,” he said.
Recall that the Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on former Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode and four others who served under the ex-governor as commissioners.
The decision followed two preliminary reports presented by two different ad-hoc committees set up by the House to investigate the 820 buses purchased by Ambode and to appraise the 2019 mid-year budget.
The former commissioners involved 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).
Presenting the preliminary report of a nine-man ad-hoc committee to probe the 820 buses purchased by the former governor, Chairman of the committee, Fatai Mojeed said that it was discovered that due process was not followed in the purchase of the buses.
The lawmakers said Ambode used the refund of the Paris Club for the purchase of the buses without the approval of the House.
The lawmakers added that they demanded the budget instrument used for the purchase, but that there was no budgetary provision for it.
On his part, Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Mid-Year Budget Review, Gbolahan Yishawu, alleged that the commissioners involved were invited by the committee but refused to appear without giving any excuse for their absence.
However, some members of the House while reacting to the matter, suggested that since the former governor and those officials who worked with him had been invited by the two committees and refused to show up, a warrant of arrest should be issued on them.