Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Code of Conduct Bureau has cleared the Director-General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila, of allegations of fraud.
This is contained in a letter dated June 10, 2020, with reference number CCB/HQ/II&M/007/1877 signed by Gwimi S.P on behalf of the chairman of the CCB.
The letter is titled, ‘Re-Petition on Suspected Financial Crimes and Breaches of the Code of Conduct Bureau Requirements Against Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, Director-General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission’.
The letter read in part, “I am to inform you that the outcome of the investigation did not disclose any indicting evidence against you with respect to the above-mentioned petition. The case has therefore been closed except there are new pieces of evidence arising in the future. Please accept the bureau’s highest regard.”
In a 12-paged query issued to Gbajabiamila by the Governing Board of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission on December 9, 2019, he was accused of breaching the Public Procurement Act.
The query was signed by the board’s Chairman, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, and six other members.
Two petitions written by two organisations – Development Monitoring Initiative, and a private law firm A. T. Yusuf Chambers – dated July 13, 2018 and June 11, 2019 respectively stated that Gbajabiamila expended funds at will from its Internally Generated Revenue through the issuance of various payment vouchers without the knowledge and approval of the board, the Public Procurement Act, and Bureau for Public Enterprise guidelines.
According to the petitions, Gbajabiamila allegedly purchased several operational vehicles worth over N200m without appropriation or approval and in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.
Similarly, three fairly used Toyota Coaster buses were purchased at N50m each.
However, a separate committee set up by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, cleared Gbajabiamila of the allegations.
The committee stated that findings showed that most of the purchases took place before Gbajabiamila assumed duties as the DG of the commission.
The panel, however, said future purchases should be done in such a manner that would allow the government to receive withholding tax.
The report signed by the Director Policy Implementation and Monitoring of Government Decision, Mrs. Annette Asugha, only accused Gbajabiamila of paying his Special Assistant with government funds instead of using his personal allowances to do so.