Lagos procurement agency clarifies state’s spendings after Doherty’s open letter

The Lagos State Public Procurement agency has made a statement to clear up the State’s procurement report, after Funso Doherty, the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), wrote an open letter.

The Agency’s Director-General, Mr Fatai Idowu Onafowote, said that the Agency follows the Lagos State Public Procurement Law and makes sure that all government transactions are transparent, accurate, and accountable.

He said that some details in the report, especially the ones that describe what the government did, may have made some people confused. This affected the government and the companies that work with the government. He said that this happened because the project information did not have enough details and this made people confused.

He said, “We regret that specific details, particularly concerning the descriptions of government dealings, may have inadvertently led to confusion, impacting both governmental entities and corporate partners providing services to the State. This arose largely from the lack of detailed descriptions in the project information, which has inadvertently led to confusion in the public space.

“We empathize with public concerns and extend our sincere apologies for any distress caused. It’s never our intent to cast doubt or cause misunderstandings that might tarnish the reputation of respected individuals and organizations involved in these transactions.

“To address these concerns thoroughly, the Agency has taken immediate steps. Line-by-line explanations of the contracts in question are attached herewith, aiming to provide absolute clarity and dispel any lingering misconceptions.”

Some of the procurement deals that stirred controversy were also addressed by the Agency, such as:

• The Blue Line Rail Project: The Agency said that “The Blue Line Rail Project’s design and construction were entrusted to Messr CCECC Nigeria Limited. Subsequently, upon finalizing the fixed infrastructure, a two-year partial operation contract was executed with the contractor for the following purposes: bolster the technical and operational expertise of LAMATA’s teams, fostering their capacity, meticulously gather scientific, financial and revenue data essential for informed decision-making processes, equip pertinent practitioners with the necessary information crucial for forthcoming concessioning procedures, empower the contractor to promptly address any defects identified during the operational phase of the project.”

“Phase 1 faced significant delays due to insufficient funds. The current administration’s strategy successfully realised the Blue Line Rail Project. The Governor remains dedicated to completing section 2 during this term, employing the same approach used for phase 1. Section 2 has already been entrusted to Messr CCECC Nigeria Limited, seamlessly continuing the project with ongoing execution. In a commendable move, the Lagos State Government compensated verified property owners and tenants, following a globally accepted standard—a practice that will continue as needed.”

• The purchase of Hyundai and Ashok Falcon buses: The Agency explained that “the Chief of Staff holds oversight responsibilities across multiple MDAs within the State. However, it’s important to note that these buses are designated for the use of other MDAs within the State and are not allocated for the personal use of the Chief of Staff.”

• The Lagos Lotteries and Gaming Authority: The Agency refuted the claim that “the dwindling revenue cannot be substantiated and does not reflect the true position at Lotteries Board. The enabling law creating the Board empowers it to allocate funds for expenditure relating to certain objectives including educational, infrastructural, health care and environmental objectives.”

• The charter aircraft from Caverton: The Agency said that “the sum of N400,000,000 and N112,500,000 approved for a charter aircraft from Caverton were payment accounts for past services rendered, wherein outstanding debts owed to the contractor is being reconciled and offset by this specific figure.”

• The fragrance for the Governor’s office: The Agency said that “the amount of N7,475,000 budgeted for the expenditure covers the entire year 2023 and other offices aside from the Governor’s office.”

• The renovation of Saint Andrews Anglican Church: The Agency said that “the Church was founded in 1889 and stands as a significant historical landmark in Lagos State. The need for the State to preserve such landmark can therefore not be overemphasised. The contract amount encompasses funds allocated for both the refurbishment of the Church and compensation given to the church for the necessary demolition of sections of its property due to road expansion.”

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