Former Lagos state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget under Babatunde Fashola’s government, Ben Akabueze has come out to defend his former boss in the N78 million website scandal which broke weeks ago.
In an interview with Kadaira Ahmed of Straight Talk With Kaidaia, Ben Akabueze says they ran a very detailed government that checked against fraud and that if the former governor wanted to steal, it wouldn’t be N78 million.
“I think it would be useful for people to look at the full scope of the project and then make a determination about whether or not it did not represent value for money. For me, we ran an annual budget of over N400bn. I think that if he (Fashola) really wanted to steal money, it wouldn’t be N78m out of over N400bn that he had access to. Of course, every kobo of public funds must be accounted for and I hope in the future, we can get the full facts and it will be made available to the public. I don’t know of anybody succeeding at anything like that (stealing) because we had a system that we designed as much as possible to prevent such. Take for instance, in our capital expenditure, we had in-house experts, so, if it was a construction project, regardless of the agency of government undertaking the project, the experts in the ministry of works and infrastructure would do an independent assessment of the cost. We had quantity surveyors, engineers, architects that offered advice. If it was an IT related project, the team in the Ministry of Science and Technology would do an independent evaluation and so for you to steal; you would need to corrupt the whole process.””he said
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