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Lasun Yusuff In N1.1 Billion Scandal

The Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuf is in big trouble as he is now enmeshed in a N1.1billion contract scandal.

Hon. Lasun Yusuff

The lawmaker in a clear disregard for the Code of Conduct for public officers and the Public Procurement Act, has been found to be using his personal company to win contracts amounting to about N1.1 billion from the Federal Government through the Ministry of Water Resources.

We gathered that in 2012, Lasun, during his first term in the House, used his personal company – Nur & Company Nigeria Limited, to bid and win two mini-water schemes in Osun State, as advertised on behalf of the ministry by the Ogun- Osun River Basin Development Authority.

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.

Chief Whip of the Senate, Prof. Sola Adeyeye disclosed that the decision to execute common projects by the representatives at the time was based on the quest to make meaningful impacts on the infrastructural deficit in the state and complement the efforts of the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

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Adeyeye said Ife- Odan, Ipetu-Ijesha and Ila-Orangun were chosen as beneficiary communities for the West, East and Central Senatorial Districts respectively for the construction of the mini water schemes, adding that: “It was Lasun that was given the assignment to link up with the Ogun- Osun River Basin Development Authority for the execution.”

The contract supervising agency, the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA), told New Telegraph that it awarded the Ife-Odan scheme at the sum of N538,412,653.06; Ila-Orangun at the rate of N539,128,429.13 while N541,193,861.23 was approved for Ipetu Ijesha project.

Thus the new total sum released for the project stood at N1,618,734,943.47. In a letter on January 18, 2018, and signed by its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Olufemi Odumosu, the agency explained that after competitive bidding processes, both Nur and Company Nigeria Limited, an engineering company, and Sabbyn Nigeria Limited, an oil and gas company, were awarded the contracts in 2012, with the former handling the projects at Ife-Odan and Ila-Orangun while the latter handled that of Ipetu- Ijesha. Meanwhile, visits to the beneficiary communities by our correspondent revealed disappointment and frustration among the people, who were initially excited by the location of the projects in their towns.

The situation is worse in Ife-Odan, where more than six years after the award of the contract, it was yet to produce a drop of water. Speaking on their frustrations, both the Risapetu and Regent of Ipetu-Ijesha, High Chief Ayodele Olayinka and Obajio of Ife-Odan, Chief Amoo Adegbite, expressed regret that their people’s hope had been dashed by the alleged poor handling of the projects.

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Our investigations revealed that as soon as the projects were handed over to the Osun State Water Corporation in 2016 with certificates of completion already issued to the contractors by OORBDA, the Water Corporation rejected the projects at Ife-Odan and Ila-Orangun, insisting that the contracts were not adequately executed.

According to the Corporation’s Deputy General Manager, Operations and Production, Mr. Ademola Odejide, an engineer, the corporation recommended a better industrial borehole for Ila-Orangun and raw water supply at Ife-Odan, saying the boreholes sunk could hardly yield 20 per cent.”

The Managing Director of Sabbyn Nigeria Limited, Mr. Abayomi Collins, who is a former member of the House of Representatives from Ogun State, said it delivered the project to specifications, and that the Federal Government still owed his company about N18 million five per cent retention fee.

However, a visit to the Plot 8, Impressive Close, Off Dosumu Street, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, which Nur & Company Limited quoted as its office in its documents with the contract awarding agency, revealed the address belongs to a different owner entirely. In fact, the investigation had led to our correspondent’s arrest, as the owner of the property, one Mrs. Dupe Dare, had accused him of working for a syndicate that had been using his property to secure loan without her consent.

According to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nur & Company Limited belongs to the Deputy Speaker as a director, with his wife – Mrs. Omowunmi Rasheeda Yusuff and his three children – Ayomide, Feyisara and Rasheeda – also serving   as shareholders and directors.

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Efforts to get the reaction of the Deputy Speaker were not fruitful as his aides, including his Special Adviser (Media), Mrs. Lara Owoeye-Wise, and the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, failed to either confirm or deny the allegations.

On January 11, 2018, when Oladimeji spoke with our correspondent, he promised to get across to the Deputy Speaker and revert as soon as possible. But as at the time of filing this report, he was yet to do so.

But other concerned members of the National Assembly, including Senator Babajide Omoworare, representing Osun East Senatorial District; Hon. Ajibola Famurewa representing Atakumosa East/Atakumosa West/Ilesha East/Ilesa West Federal constituency and Mrs. Ayo Omidiran from Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency, have all expressed regrets over the bad states of the projects, even as they exonerated themselves.

According to Famurewa, the development had forced the Osun Caucus in the House of Representatives to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2016, even as he denied the knowledge of the owner of any of the two companies.

Also, two other concerned former members of the National Assembly, Senator Mudashiru Hussein and Hon. Rotimi Makinde, denied involvement, even as they directed our correspondent to the present National Assembly members from their constituencies for update on the matter.

– Source: New Telegraph