On Friday, Funso Doherty, 2023 Lagos goveenorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), disclosed on social media that he wrote an open letter to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor, challenging some public procurement awards in the state government’s second and third quarters.
Among the issues Doherty raised was a June 2023 award by the office of the governor’s chief of staff to ARC44 Global Enterprises to replace “liquid fragrance in the Office of Mr Governor, Lagos House, Ikeja”. This award was for N7,475,000.
Doherty’s concern was that the amount was excessive in relation to the economic realities of the country.
I just wrote an open letter to the Governor on Public Procurement awards reported by LASG for the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2023, highlighting a number of issues for further scrutiny and remedial action. Judicious use of public funds is always important, and is especially so now. pic.twitter.com/AEulEU64aN
— funsodoherty (@funsodoherty) November 18, 2023
FIJ visited the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (LASPPA) website to verify the authenticity of Doherty’s claims. We found the June award letter for 2023, and the contract was listed as item 230 on the page. We also learned the contract was paid for on June 16, 2023.
With these established, we began looking into the owners of this company and the experience they had in contracting.
FIJ checked the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) website and discovered that ARC44 Global Enterprises was not a company but a business name registered on February 17, 2023.
This means on the day the government paid for this contract, the business was a day shy of being four months old.
According to the Public Procurement Act 2007, any company bidding for a government contract must “have fulfilled all its obligations to pay taxes, pensions and social security contributions”. For government contracts, companies are usually required to provide three years of clearance to qualify for awards. A four-month-old entity would run foul of these requirements.
We also found that the owner of the business was one Adebiyi Lateef Adebowale, a 33-year-old Lagos resident who operates from 10, Ayoola Lawal Street, Shomolu-Bariga area of the state.
From the LASPPA website, we were able to learn that Adebowale received two contracts from the state governor’s chief of staff’s office on June 16. The second was for the “production of telephone directory palmphlet of divisional police officers (DPOs) and emergency response agencies in Lagos State”. For this contract, Adebowale was paid N2,300,000.
The man responsible for awarding these contracts was Tayo Ayinde, Chief of Staff to the State Governor.
Both awards amount to a total of N9,775,000, and both violate procurement laws of the country.
On Sunday morning, FIJ called Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu’s chief press secretary, to react to the development, but he dropped our call. We sent him a text message but he had not responded as of press time.