A former Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Olusegun Banjo, has denied indicting former governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Mr Ambode is being probed by the Lagos State House of Assembly over the controversial purchase of 820 mass transit buses for N45 billion.
News reports had on Wednesday quoted Mr Banjo on Tuesday telling the ad hoc committee set up by the Lagos State House of Assembly to probe Mr Ambode, that the former governor ignored his ministry in the purchase of the buses.
He was also quoted saying Ambode’s administration lacked transparency.
However, in a statement on Thursday, Banjo said he was not part of the government when the deal for the purchase of buses was settled and so could not have indicted Ambode.
He said in the statement: “I attended the meeting and questions were asked under oath. Pointed questions relating to the activities of the Ministry were posed to me during the meeting. I informed the committee that I was appointed in February 2018 when the issue of bus purchase had already been on the ground. I also explained that the bus issues were not contained in the budget I managed but could have been in earlier budgets.
“Regarding the operations of the ministry, I brought it to the attention of the house that the operating system need to be reviewed and also mentioned other weaknesses in a professional manner. It is pertinent to note that these observations had earlier been included in my handing over note to the new administration and as it affects all arms of Government and not the executive alone. I was, therefore, contrary to the impression sought to be portrayed by the press, not saying anything new that had not been said before.
“To my utter chagrin, the press reports of my testimony before the committee are skewed in such a manner as to suggest that I had been scathingly critical of the last administration in which I had served and had painted the executive in bad light.
“It is instructive to note that the operational lapses in the other arms of government that I also made specific mention of in the course of my testimony before the committee were deliberately ignored and were not reported on by the press in their coverage.
“I am deeply saddened and disappointed by such sensationalism by hitherto section of the press and by its uninhibited and deplorable abdication of a basic tenet of professional journalism- impartial reportage.
“I wish to state that I am not in a position to know what exactly transpired on the issue of the buses as I was not in Government when the issue was tabled and approved by the State Executive Council and neither was I drafted into the bus Steering committee on assumption of duty in February 2018.
“My response to questions asked by the committee under oath was intended to explain technical issues pertaining to the operations of the Ministry and explain the anomalies they noted and seek explanations to, and nothing said by me there was intended to or said in any manner as to condemn or indict anyone.”
A former Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Olawale Oluwo, had also denied indicting Ambode.