Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa has appeared before a panel of inquiry set up to probe corruption allegations levelled against him.
The nine-man fact-finding panel was chaired by Victor Akande, representative of Ojo constituency I.
An investigation conducted by popular online news platform, SaharaReporters alleged that Obasa owns over 60 different bank accounts.
The embattled speaker was also accused of using his office to misappropriate funds and allocate contracts to himself through third party sources, as well as other acquaintances.
However, Obasa speaking before the panel on Saturday, claimed that the allegations were untrue, explaining that all expenses were done with the approval of the house, as well as the fund management committee (FMU) which he chairs.
In his response to spending N258 million to print invitation cards for the inauguration of the ninth assembly, he said the event cost N61 million, and that N1.1 million was spent on printing the invitation cards.
“It is not possible to spend N258 million to print invitation cards. We are not involved in such a frivolous expenditure,” he said.
But the speaker did not give further details on how the remaining funds were distributed for the inauguration which held in June 2019.
Explaining how N80 million was spent as estacode for training in Dubai, Obasa said wives of 20 lawmakers attended the event and he was there to declare the event open.
“We gave N4 million to each of the participants for air tickets, hotels, feeding and local travel. Air ticket to Dubai alone is about N2 million. Some of these allegations were raised for a crusade to get the speaker out of office,” he said.
“The house of assembly is above common standard of excellence and we have to train people, and this comes with a cost. Learning is not cheap and I have never collected N80 million for estacode at a go before.”
So far, there are no further details on the training referred to by the speaker.
In his speech at the inauguration of the ninth assembly in June 2019, Obasa made reference to the Lagos legislators wives association (LASLEWA), but the group has no significant presence online and it is not clear what the Dubai training was about.
Speaking on the purchase of exotic cars, he added: “We bought land cruisers for principal officers of the house. The cars we bought for them are always higher than those of other members and we followed due process in the purchase. We went through the public procurement agency (PPA) and others and the vehicles were distributed appropriately.
“It was agreed at the parliamentary meetings on about four occasions and the clerk of the house, Mr Azeez Sanni, is the secretary.
“Also, it is not true that my wife collects N10 million monthly from the house. Anyone who says she does should come with proofs and evidences.
“My approval limit as the speaker is N100 million, and anything above that would have to be approved by the fund management committee.”
Officials of Zenith Bank, John Olorundare, chief compliance officer, and Sanni Idowu Awe, zonal head of Alausa, also appeared before the panel.
According to the bank officials, an individual can only have one BVN, and different account names could not be used for one BVN.
They added that Obasa had six accounts with Zenith Bank, out if which two of the accounts are operational, one savings and one current, while the rest are dormant.