Tejuosho, 100 Others to Forfeit Illegally Acquired Assets

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Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government may have begun revoking its assets illegally acquired by highly placed persons in Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi, Magodo, Lekki and Victoria Island among others, in line with the report of a panel of inquiry it set up to probe the sale of such assets between 2006 and 2016, THISDAY has learnt.

A source disclosed the commencement of the revocation exercise at the weekend, noting that the state government might also prosecute over 100 beneficiaries of illegal asset acquisitions in the state.

The source, who spoke with THISDAY in confidence, disclosed that a serving member of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Funmi Tejuosho might be affected in the on-going revocation of illegally sold assets.

Apart from the lawmaker, the source revealed that no fewer than 100 highly placed persons including political actors, lawmakers as well as former government functionaries who served under the administrations of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Fashola would be affected.

The source explained in detail how Tejuosho was involved in the alleged illegal deal to which he said the state government lost billions of naira, noting that two wings of a 5-bedroom semi-detached house located in Ikeja GRA was the official residence of Deputy Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly.

He said the lawmaker representing Mushin Constituency I moved into the apartment when she was serving as the State Deputy Speaker between 2007 and 2009, but allegedly used a firm linked with her to acquire the property at a ridiculous offer while serving as the deputy speaker.

After extensive review of the report, according to the source, it was discovered that two wings of a 5-bedroom semi-detached house located around Ikeja GRA valued at hundreds of millions of naira was in 2010 offered to a certain Funmi Smith of Debam Mega Solutions Limited.

He said: “The property was acquired by a firm linked to Hon. Funmi Tejuosho. It was sold at a sum far less than half of its market value, but seven years after the offer barely half of the offered sum had not been paid to the state government coffers by the company.”

“The state government has resolved to revoke such assets or the beneficiaries pay the market value. The state government lost billions of naira to such illegal asset acquisition across the state. It is not acceptable given the state of economy and entrenched public interest.

“The lawmaker has been living in the official residence more than seven years. She has denied deputy speakers after she was impeached in 2009 access to their official residence. In fact, the current deputy speaker cannot access his official residence.”

THISDAY called Tejuosho repeatedly on her mobile last night to get her side of the report. Subsequently, a text message was sent to her. However, she neither returned her missed calls nor replied the text message at the time the report was eventually filed.

Different sources in the State House had earlier disclosed the resolve of the state government to fully implement the report of the panel, which listed over 100 assets that were affected alongside the names of the beneficiaries and the locations of the assets.

The report was submitted after a high-powered panel of inquiry was set up in late 2016 by the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to investigate the sale of its assets in prime areas completed its work.

Another source had earlier disclosed that the state government had investigated the sale of its assets because they were sold below market value and that the huge amount of funds involved runs into billions of naira.
He said the state government lost in revenue due “to the unacceptable process by which the sales were conducted,” noting that there was no going back on the implementation of the report.

According to him, the affected assets are located in high-profile areas, where decision-makers, captains of industries, top government functionaries and political actors among others often crave to build their homes and offices.
The source identified the high-profile areas to include Ikeja GRA, Magodo, Ikoyi, Lekki and other prime locations in the state, where government assets were sold below the market value.

He explained that the assets were disposed at give-away prices and obviously against public interest, which in his words, stoked the interest of the present administration to investigate and review the process by which the assets were sold.

Aside the sale of the affected assets below the market value, it was also gathered that the acquisition of the affected government assets did not follow due process and standard procedure of sale.
He said what culminated in the resolve of the state government to investigate the sale of its assets was overriding public interest and huge revenue the state government lost to the deal, thereby lamenting that some of these assets “were sold as low as N20 million.

“The government and people of the state have been short-changed considering the abysmal prices the assets were sold. Generally, we have a situation where government properties in prime locations were sold at give-away prices. The assets were abysmally under-valued. Besides, the assets were sold below the actual market value.”