N1.1bn contract ‘scam’: CSOs want deputy speaker probed


EFCC officials

Two civil society organisations have urged the nation’s anti-corruption agencies to probe the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Engr. Lasun Yusuff, over his alleged involvement in a N1.1 billion water contract scam.
In separate press statements, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) and SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said the investigation “is important to unravel the truth about allegations against Yusuff.” An investigation by a New Telegraph reporter on May 24 alleged that Yusuff, used his personal company, Nur & Company Nigeria Limited, to secure contracts worth about N1.1 billion from the federal government through the Ministry of Water Resources.
The newspaper, which made the allegation after four months of budget tracking, reported that Yusuff during his first term in the House used the company to secure two mini-water schemes in Osun state, as advertised on behalf of the ministry by the Ogun- Osun River Basin Development Authority.
SERAP, in a petition dated 8 June and signed by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, urged the Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the allegations against Yussuf.
The organisation threatened to institute legal action against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari if the agencies failed to act “in the next 14 days.” SERAP wants the agencies “to jointly investigate allegations of incompatibility, apparent conflict of interest and abuse of office involving Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr.
Lasun Yusuff using his personal company to win water contracts amounting to about N1.1 billion from the Ministry of Water Resources, and to collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in any such investigation.” The organisation urged the anticorruption agencies to prosecute Yusuff , other people mentioned in the story and companies suspected to be involved if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of abuse of office and complicity against them.
“We urge you to take steps within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to order your agencies to act in the public interest.” The organisation noted that Yusuff’s alleged action constitute a conflict of interest according to the Public Procurement Act.
Similarly, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the allegation against Yusuff.
In a petition forwarded to the Chairman of the anti-graft body, Ibrahim Magu, and signed by its National Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC, which is a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organisations, said the lawmaker should be prosecuted if the allegation was found to be true.
It also called for appropriate sanctions “to serve as a deterrent to other like-minded individuals.” The petition reads: “The contracts, which are part of the National Assembly’s Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP), otherwise known as “constituency projects,” were parts of the joint projects attracted to the state by 12 members of the National Assembly from Osun state, who had been elected to the two chambers between 2011 and 2015, on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the legacy parties of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Hon.
Lasun, who represents Irepodun/Orolu/ Olorunda/Osogbo Federal Constituency, and who was then the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, had allegedly used his position to bid and win the contract without the knowledge of his colleagues.” CSNAC said an investigation of the allegation will serve as deterrence to other public office holders who may want to toe the line in future.
(Premium Times)

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