Doherty seeks probe, alleges payment by Lagos govt to Sanwo-Olu’s lawyers

Doherty seeks probe, alleges payment by Lagos govt to Sanwo-Olu’s lawyers

Funsho Doherty, the candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC in the Lagos State’s 2023 governorship election, has demanded a probe into an al

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Funsho Doherty, the candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC in the Lagos State’s 2023 governorship election, has demanded a probe into an alleged payment of N200 million by the state government to lawyers who handled personal partisan cases of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

He demanded that an independent special investigator be appointed to carry out the probe.

Doherty made the demand on Monday in a new letter to the state government over its spendings.

In the new letter, Doherty asked the government to explain why the Ministry of Justice awarded contracts totalling N200 million to four law firms for legal representation in partisan cases that are personal to Governor Sanwo-Olu.

He also directed additional questions to the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency over its response to his previous letter.

“In light of the obvious irregularity of such awards, and the apparent involvement of the Justice Ministry, I hereby suggest that an independent special investigator be appointed to examine this specific matter and report findings to the public,” he wrote in the new letter dated 27 November.

Last week, the ADC candidate made headlines and sparked conversations on social media when he wrote an open letter to Sanwo-olu, demanding explanations for spendings by the state government in the first and second quarters of this year.

In the previous letter, he flagged a N2 billion spending for the supply of rechargeable fans, lights and fridge in the office of the deputy governor as well an N18.5 million for the supply and distribution of 2,000 Noiler chicken across the local government areas and wards in the state, awarded to the office of the chief of staff to the governor.

He also flagged contracts and government spendings he considered to be wasteful in The Lagos Lotteries and Gaming Authority and the Blue Rail Line, among others.

But in his reaction, the deputy governor, Obafemi Hamzat, said his office received N2 million and not N2 billion quoted in Doherty’s letter.

The procurement agency also said there was a “misunderstanding arising from a lack of clarity.”

The agency’s Director-General, Fatai Onafowote, then sent a line-by-line response to the items raised in Mr Doherty’s letter.

But Doherty said he was not convinced by the explanations made over about 34 of the 45 items responded to. In the remaining 11 items, he responded either with ‘This is Noted’ or ‘No further comment’.

Meanwhile, in the other 34 items, Doherty either maintained his initial question with ‘Our comment is maintained’ or followed the procurement agency’s response with additional questions and comments.

Some of the items he did not provide additional comments on include the N7 million budget for the replacement of fragrance in the office of the governor, which procurement agency said covers the entire 2023 and is not limited to the governor’s office but extends to several offices and state houses.

On the N20 million spent for the decoration of the venue for political delegates conference, the procurement agency explained that the event was a strategic programme aimed at fostering interaction and collaboration between elected legislators and members of the state executive council.

Meanwhile, on the N531 million budgeted for the renovation of Saint Andrews Anglican Church, Oke-Popo, the procurement agency explained that the church is a significant historical landmark in the state having been established in 1889. The agency added that the amount includes compensation given to the church for the necessary demolition of sections of its property due to road expansion.

Doherty, however, suggested that such should also apply broadly and equitable to other designated heritage sites in the state.

The pictures below are the line-by-line responses by Doherty to the Lagos State Procurement Agency.