Funso Doherty, a Lagos-based chartered accountant, and politician, has revealed that the Lagos State Government (LASG) allocated in its 2023 budget N400 million for a charter plane, N440 million for SUVs, N7 million for diffusers, among other items recently approved for procurement.
This was revealed in an open letter of public procurement addressed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and signed by the Doherty dated 17th of November, 2023.
In the letter, Doherty highlighted some of the procurements he expects the state government to review and explain to the public the structure of the budgetary allocation.
The revelation cited the register of public procurement of the state government for the second and third quarters of 2023.
“I have had the opportunity to go through the register of public procurement awards by LASG, its ministries, Department Agencies for the second and third quarters of 2023, as reported by the Public Procurement Agency. This attached schedule highlights selected awards which, in my opinion, require greater scrutiny,” he wrote in the letter.
He listed some of the following luxuries allocated in the budget, saying,
“Under the office of the Chief of Staff, procurement of a brand-new Lexus LX 600 bullet proof sport utility vehicles for use in the pool of office of Chief awarded for the total sum of N440,750,000.
“Replacement of liquid fragrance in the office of Mr. Governor, Lagos house Ikeja awarded for the sum of N7,475,000.
“In addition, Decorations for the venue of political delegates for the sum of N20,084,550
“Flying hours expenses for ad-hoc Charter plane by Lagos State Government awarded for the sum of N400,000,000.”
A sum of N69.9 billion was allocated to Repair the Eti Osa/ Lekki Expressway.
Furthermore, the chartered accountants also demanded that the government account for how it spent the exorbitant sum of N69.9 billion to repair an existing road linking Eti Osa/Lekki expressway
“N69,936,201,915 allocated for rehabilitation, reconstruction and upgrade of Eti Osa/Lekki Epe Expressway (phase b) from Greensprings to Abraham Adesanya in Eti Osa and Ibeju-Lekki LGA.
“This single award for the repair and upgrade of a section of an already existing road amounts to approximately half of the entire 2023 budget for the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure. A comprehensive and preferably independent value-for-money should be done for this contract,” he added.
In addition, Doherty also tasked the government to explain the N70 billion allocated for the construction of Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) commuting from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko in 2008.
According to him, this project was supposed to be completed in 2011, but it was only partially completed until 2023. On that note, he tasked the government to evaluate the N218 billion now allocated for phase 2 of the construction.
“In 2008, N70 billion was approved for the blue line and it was expected to be completed by 2011. Phase 1 of the project, Marina to Mile 2, which is approximately half of the length of the total project, has just recently commenced limited operation in 2023. The overall cost so far has not been disclosed.
“With this award of Phase 2 by the Lagos State Government to the same contractor (China Civil Engineering Construction Company Nigeria Limited), at the cost of N218 billion, what safeguards are in place to prevent a repeated occurrence?”
In his critique, Funso Doherty not only casts a spotlight on specific expenditures he deems extravagant in the Lagos State Government’s budget, but he also urges for greater transparency and accountability.
This call for a thorough review of lavish spending and significant infrastructure investments reflects his deep concern for prudent fiscal management and ethical stewardship of public funds.
This is not Doherty’s first foray into critiquing government expenditures.
As Lagosians ponder the implications of these revelations, one expects the Lagos State Government to respond accordingly.