An anti-corruption group, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, has accused a former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), of leaving behind a debt of N500bn for the new administration.
This is contrary to the N418.2bn figure Fashola was said to have claimed in his handover note to his successor, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
CACOL, in an interview with our correspondent, said it had written eight petitions against the former governor to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission and the Lagos State House of Assembly on the matter.
Its earliest petitions were written in 2010.
According to the Executive Director of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, Fashola’s government failed woefully to meet certain needs of the people in the state.
He alleged that the ex-governor embarked on frivolous spending on white elephant projects, unnecessary and excessive donations, lack of due process in budget implementation, illegal deduction and diversion of statutorily-allocated funds and properties, as well as inflation of costs of already awarded contracts.
Adeniran said, “Fashola should also account for what he did with state funds to the extent of leaving N500bn in debt. He has not shown adequate justification for the enormous debt he left behind; that he met some debt on the ground was not an excuse because he was expected to defray the debt he met rather than compound it.
“Basically, they have not been able to answer the question, all they give are abuses.”
When asked if he had any proof that Fashola enriched himself while he was the governor of Lagos, Adeniran stated that CACOL had not been able to trace the destination of all the money that was missing.
He said, “What I challenge them (Fashola and his supporters) to do is to supply the account of how Fashola had managed Lagos’ funds for the eight years. All we know is that the money accrued to Lagos state has not been spent on the needs of Lagos.
“Most of the contracts awarded before 2010 were said to have been immorally inflated by the administration of Babatunde Raji Fashola.
“Same with the over N4tn budget: he has not accounted for how much he paid as salaries; how much he spent in buying recharge cards; how much he spent on petrol; how much he spent on entertainment; and how much he spent on consumables.”
According to the handover note passed down to Ambode, Fashola left a debt burden of N418.2bn.
The debt profile showed a steep rise in comparison with the N15bn Fashola inherited from his predecessor, Senator Bola Tinubu.
A breakdown of the debt showed a domestic debt of N69.666bn obtained from bank loans, N225bn from bond issuance and N207.499bn external loan from foreign bodies.
When contacted by SUNDAY PUNCH to react on the CACOL’s allegations, both Fashola’s media aide, Hakeem Bello and the Lagos chapter of the All Progressives Congress’ Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, said they had no comments to make. (Punch)