Posted by News Express | 3 June 2018 | 1,374 times
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), a non-governmental and non-partisan human rights and development league is asking that the Lagos State House of Assembly, in accordance with its mandate as civil society, under the Freedom of Information Act, through the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honorable Mudashiru Obasa, to initiate a parliamentary investigation into the current Visionscape project in Lagos as well as the general lack of transparency in the management and current operations and financial transactions of the Lagos State Government.
HEDA Resource Centre, in a petition which reads, “Demand For The Investigation and Provision of Information Relating To The Pertinent Following Issues:
Lagos State’s Allocation Of Waste Management Contract (Cleaner Lagos Initiative) To Visionscape Sanitation Solutions
The Allocation and Appropriation For The Ikeja Bus Terminal Project
The Selection Process of Companies Allocated The Consultancy of Land Use Charge Collection.”
The petition, dated 9th April, 2018 directed to the Honorable Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, seeks the clarification from the government on the above pertinent issues.
According to the petition, The Lagos State Government, on the 23rdof February 2017, executed a Memorandum of Understanding authorizing the creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – the Municipality Waste Management Contractors Limited, for a major multi-year new integrated waste management services, with a 10-year initial duration, thereby giving the company Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, the mandate to provide the vital infrastructure to handle waste collection, processing, disposal and recycling activities in Lagos State.
According to the petition, Subsequent investigations show that going through the records of Visionscape, the said company does not have any record of waste management work/contract executed before the incumbent governor of Lagos State, Mr. Ambode, brought the company into Nigeria.
"Going through the company’s online profiles, this fact is highlighted by the information that Visionscape as a company has never existed before its incept into Nigeria, and that its only physical presence is a building in Dubai posted on the internet, with the quoted address. ‘50th Floor, Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE. The telephone number: +97143501000."
The organisation laments that "It is interesting that the said Conrad House where Visionscape is purportedly located on the 50th floor, is right in front of World Trade Centre Metro Station. Basically, apart from a high-brow residence as quoted on the company’s website, there is nothing of any record that reveals the operations of Visionsacpe."
In the letter to the Assembly, Another pending issue raised by the organisation bothers on details of the nature of the award and execution of the Ikeja Bus Terminus Project, recently commissioned by the President of Nigeria, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari. The petition described the contract as "an opaque project". "To this effect, there is no evidence of the award details for the said project or its procurement process, the award of the various phases of the contract, as well as the disbursements and execution of the project", were the words of the organisation.
The petition signed the organisation's Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju further challenged "the process of appointing contractors allocated the consultancy of the land use charge collection; which has become highly contested and debated by members of the public.
Quoting a report by Sahara Reporters, revealing that the collecting companies involved in this deal, Alpha Beta, Information Connectivity Solutions Limited (ICSL) and De Soffit Consults Limited are all interconnected with each other. As a matter of fact, according to Sahara Reporters, Information Connectivity Solutions Limited (ICSL) and De Soffit Consults Limited, are all sister companies to Alpha Beta. It says, "The main collecting agent Company, Alpha Beta is a company associated with a former governor of Lagos State. In the other two collecting agent companies, according to searches at the Corporate Affairs Commission, it was revealed that two directors, Mr. Abiodun Akinkunmi, was on the board of Alpha Beta while serving as a former Lagos State Finance Commissioner."
"A director in the second collecting agent company, Mr Lasisi Olalekan, of De Soffit Consults Limited, is currently a Special Adviser on Taxation and Revenue Matters to the incumbent governor of Lagos State, Mr. Ambode."
The appointment of these collecting agents, as well as the individuals who hold dual positions in both the public and private offices, contravenes the country’s Code of Conduct for Public Service Office holders, which bars public officials from working in private organizations while in office.
The group charged Honorable Mudashiru Obasa to use his good offices to carry out a thorough investigation of the activities of Visionscape Sanitation Solutions and find out those behind the Visionscape debacle, alleging possible collusion and underhand dealings in the contract.
It further demanded that the Lagos State Assembly invokes its legislative powers to see the revocation of the said Visionscape contract if the collective interest of citizens and state was compromised, as well as to make available the requested information concerning the State’s spending allocation for the Ikeja Bus Stop Project as well as bring to book the duplicitous ownership of the implicated collecting agent companies of the debateable Land Use Charge collectors as well as reveal the faces of the Feudal Lords who refuse to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers as well as those involved in using the duplicity of the current government to propagate their personal agenda by attempting to hoodwink the well-meaning tax payers of Lagos State.
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