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Fashola Defends N78m Website

Raji-FasholaFormer Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has defended the decision of his government to spend N78.3m on the upgrade of his website,

Fashola has come under fire after the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency posted a report on its website, stating that N78.3m was paid to a firm, Info Access Plus Limited, for the upgrade of the ex-governor’s website through the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor.

Fashola, in a five-page letter he personally signed on Thursday, admitted that the money was actually spent on his website.

He, however, said the breakdown of the transaction was left out and was the cause of the confusion.

He said, “As far as the website contract is concerned, yes there was a contract. It went through procurement and was approved by the government agency authorised to do so. One of the services was an upgrade quoted for N12.5m but awarded for N12m.

“There were other services that were new like a handover countdown clock, mobile Apps for Google, for IOS and Ipad, for Microsoft and for Research in Motion (Blackberry), which the existing website did not have, as well as the annual maintenance cost for managing the website.

“It was for all these services that the contract was issued for N78m, which the Lagos State Procurement Agency gave no objection based on the advice of the Ministry of Science and Technology, who are the government’s adviser on ICT matters.

“In publishing this contract award, which was the government tradition under my watch, the procurement agency’s website summarised it as ‘upgrade’ only without detailing the other services and this has been distorted by the agents of hate as their suspected smoking gun.”

He, however, said the contract was published in such a way as to misinform members of the public.

“It is regrettable that a summary of the contract has been deliberately distorted to misinform the public,” he stated.

Fashola added that the website helped him to do his job effectively when he was governor.

He noted that till date, there have been over 27 million hits on the site while thousands of videos and pictures had been uploaded on the site.

The former governor hinted of an alleged plot by some unnamed individual to smear his name.

He said for instance, there were allegations of having extra-marital affairs and having children outside marriage.

Fashola described the allegations as baseless, explaining that the only children he had outside marriage were the two children he adopted after their parents were killed in the 2012 Dana plane crash.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is rumoured to be in a cold war with the National Leader of the All progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said he had no hand in the June 9 National Assembly elections in which the choice of the leadership of the APC lost out.

He said he was out of the country when senators were scrambling for positions and only returned on the morning of the election.

“As far as my alleged involvement in the National Assembly elections are concerned, they remain only the products of imagination of those who made the allegations. I was out of the country at the material time and returned only in the early hours of that morning to Abuja and from there, proceeded to Lagos,” he said.

Fashola, while reacting to recent bashing by the Peoples Democratic Party over the over N419bn debt his administration left behind, noted that all the loans taken by the state were approved by the House of Assembly.

He said the debts were being serviced, adding that the debt profile of the state had not affected it negatively.

Fashola berated human rights group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, for dragging him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and calling on President Muhammadu Buhari not to give him a political appointment.

He said he did not care if he was given a political appointment or not as he had served Lagos State for over 12 years.

Source:The Punch



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