The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has challenged the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to publicly defend the allegations contained in the documentary to prove his innocence.
The president of CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran, at a press briefing on Tuesday in Lagos called on the Lagos State House of Assembly to initiate a probe of Fashola/ Tinubu deals especially on the issues raised by the ‘True Face of Lagos’ in their petitions and the ones he raised on Alpha-Beta Consultancy and come up with satisfactory report.
Adeniran called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to make public their findings on the allegations of the ‘True Face of Lagos’ as contained in CACOL’s petitions.
His words, “Beyond getting an injunction to stop the airing of his alleged misdemeanour, as a statesman that Senator Tinubu is expected to be, he should please come out to the open to defend the allegations against him. After all, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.
“We also demand that former Governor Bola Tinubu should make public statement on Alpha-Beta Consulting and his other properties in Lagos. We insist that every governorship candidate should make public commitment on how they will do things differently especially on Alpha Beta Consultancy and be more transparent and accountable as well as allow participatory governance.
“As a Coalition of several pressure groups, I must reiterate as contained in our advertorial that we shall mobilize our affiliates, network with other allied groups to blacklist and mobilise votes against any Governorship Candidate that ignores this demand. In the case of the incumbent governor, we shall mobilise over Seven Million Lagosians across all walks of life to occupy strategic areas of the state.”
The CACOL boss disclosed that the briefing was essentially aimed at presenting before the public, a chronicled account of series of efforts made by the Coalition since 2010 at making the Lagos State Government provide answers to various questions raised by concerned persons, organisations and groups, over the detailed budgetary reports of income and expenditure for the period of 2007 to 2011 which the state government was yet to accede to.
He maintained that CACOL had, in reaction to an advertorial placed on Pages 44 and 45 of The PUNCH edition of Thursday, January 28, 2010 under the title: ‘The True Face of Lagos’ – the publication which contained several allegations bordering on financial recklessness and misappropriation against the state government, petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), vide its letter dated 3rd February, 2010, requesting its thorough investigation and necessary actions, to which the EFCC adopt.
According to him, when EFCC was not forthcoming, CACOL followed with another petition dated 20th February, 2011, addressed to the Lagos State House of Assembly, demanding that ‘the House investigate itself and perform its oversight functions’ on the allegations of financial impropriety levelled against the state Governor.
The House however replied vide its letter dated 24th February 2011 stating its inability to accede to CACOL’s demand, citing an earlier court injunction, which stopped further deliberation on the matter until the case was disposed of.
Not satisfied with the response, CACOL on the 29th August, 2012, relying on the constitutional strength of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), forwarded a letter dated 29th August, 2012 in which it applied for the Lagos State Budgetary Reports Detailing Income and Expenditure for the period of 2009 till 2011, directly to the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, (SAN).
He further disclosed that similar applications were also made on the 3rd June, 2013 and 17th July, 2013, to Mr. Rahman Adeola Ipaye, the State Commissioner for Justice and the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget respectively.
According to him, whilst the Office of the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice replied on July 2, 2013 stating the inapplicability of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to the State Government as, according to him, citing relevant provisions of the law, the said law was not binding on the state government, its counterpart in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget simply directed the coalition to obtain a series of publications from the ministry for the needed information.
Recently, acting on facts at its disposal, CACOL placed a set of newspaper advertorials titled, “Alpha Beta Consulting (ABC) Deductions: Take A Stand Now”. The adverts which appeared on Page 7 of the NIGERIAN TRIBUNE edition of Wednesday, 11th March, 2015 and page 56 of the DAILY SUN edition of same date as well as the Yoruba version of it on page 7 of the ALAROYE’s edition of same date, had unveiled the facts surrounding the process of tax collection, remittance and deductions to the aforementioned consulting firm which allegedly belongs to a former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu.
His words, “We must emphasize for the records that we have no personal grouse against Senator Bola Tinubu as he is presumed innocent until various anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies find enough reasons to apprehend him (since he is not known to be hiding) and prosecute him (since he has no immunity) and he’s found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. However, his unwarranted silence on the Alpha Beta issue is worrisome.
“Besides, we believe Bola Tinubu, being Gov. Fashola’s immediate predecessor, has not done enough to guide the incumbent on how to productively implement budgets in Lagos State or come out in public to disown him if he is recalcitrant. His silence only shows that Bola Tinubu is either complicit, approved or tolerate the budgetary malfeasance. We are equally flabbergasted that Tinubu went to court to obtain an injunction to stop the airing of the documentary about him on Africa Independent Television (AIT).
“That he sought protection under the law that gives him respite that can be sustained for a very long time, is escapist and smacks of cowardice. It is our belief that this should give any well-meaning person utter concern since he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.
“Facts have it that the ABC is contracted to deduct from source a regular 15 per cent of all monies collected as taxes in the state at any given time or period. As a matter of verifiable fact, a total sum of N27,743,310,520.93 was paid to ABC between 25thJanuary, 2012 and 26th October, 2014 through Skye Bank PLC account.
“The open letter, which was addressed to the incumbent Governor and the 2015 governorship candidates, had demanded from each of them to come out with a categorical stance on this development.”
Adeniran recalled that a forum tagged, “Lagos Open Parliament,” organised by CACOL in partnership with People’s Action Democracy (PAD), was held on Saturday, 18th December, 2010, at the Federal Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos attended by all the twenty local governments in the state, civil society organisations and other concerned Lagosians, during which many questions on the state of the state’s budgets and implementations were raised.
He added that it was against this backdrop that CACOL and other concerned parties had been demanding from the state government, detailed facts on the state’s budget since 2007; a demand that was yet to be responded to, many years after.
“We, in CACOL, see it as a responsibility bestowed on us as patriots and watchdogs over the activities of those placed in the saddle of governance, with the main objective of ensuring transparency, accountability and above all, to play the whistle-blower against any act of corruption in any form or shape,” he stated.
The CACOL boss stressed that the group was committed to naming, nailing, shaming and shunning corrupt leaders anywhere, everywhere, regardless of whose ox was gored, urging all compatriots to join voices in prevailing on the Lagos State Government to come out and present the true position of the state of finances in the state to the tax payers of the state.
SOURCE: The Union.