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Alleged Money Laundering: Groups Accuse Tinubu, Ambode, Others For Complicity

Some civil society groups have challenged the governor of Lagos State Akinwunmi Ambode to declare the state expenditure so far or face the risk of rigorous protest.

The groups under the aegis of Activists United against Graft and Anti-People’s Policies (AUGAPOL) led by Comrade Mark Adebayo and Coalition Against Corruption And Bad Governance (CACOBAG) led by comrade Toyin Raheem accused governor  Akinkunmi Ambode and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of been major beneficiaries of humongous money laundering activities happening under the Lagos State government.

Citing the example of the embattled Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Folarin Coker about his activities while he held sway as the DG of Lagos State licensing corporation,the civil groups accused governor Ambode of giving Folarin Coker necessary backing to carry out the financial misappropriation levelled against him.

The groups also accused  Governor Ambode and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of siphonong and laundering the state resources through various retreats held by the state house of Assembly and taken each time out of the state, thus impoverishing the hotels in Lagos State. The local government officials also came under the radar as the local officials were fingered as the laundering points used to siphon funds for the second term ambition of governor Ambode.

 Mark Adebayo and Toyin Raheem through the petition however asked Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to ask governor Akinwunmi Ambode to clear himself of the weighty allegations made against him.  Read full press release below


Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, thank you so much for honoring this invitation at such a short notice.

We are here today to add a voice to the growing grave public concerns about the seeming lack of transparency and accountability in the management of Lagos State's finances, including allegations of gross graft.

Let us start by reiterating that the so-called anti-corruption fight of the Buhari presidency has been severely corrupted. One instance would suffice.

Recently the public was awash with the multi-billion Naira fraud and money laundering allegations against the current DG of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mr. Folarin Coker and his wife,  Aisha Rimi, by the Economic and  Financial Crimes Commission as a result of which 32 different accounts through which several billions of Naira were laundered were frozen by the court on the request of the EFCC. One wonders what such a man is still doing in office after such embarrassing exposition of humongous corruption allegations with provable evidence against him under a government that touts itself as fighting corruption.

Panama papers have equally exposed multi-million dollar properties bought by Folarin Coker in London and the USA. As DG of Lagos State Licensing Corporation, the EFCC alleges that Coker diverted amounts in excess of N6bn into his, wife's and cronies'private accounts.  When a man this alleged and exposed by a government institution constitutionally empowered so to do and is still maintained in office under an administration that pretends to fight corruption, it is a clear case aiding and abetting corruption by the Buhari presidency. The case of the SGF, Babachir Lawal, and the shameful reluctance of the president to remove him from office is still fresh in the memory of Nigerians.

We call on relevant government agencies to expedite actions to repatriate all stolen funds by Mr Coker and the properties he bought with them and return them into the covers of Lagos State which is the legitimate owner of the stolen funds. We equally demand that Mr Coker be fired immediately by the president if indeed he wishes to retain the little bit of credibility left in his failing anti-corruption campaign.

Our organizations have been inundated with complaints and allegations of gross corruption bothering on what might qualify for money laundering on the part of some highly placed government functionaries in the state. It is public knowledge that since the inception of the Ambode administration, one form of retreat or the other have been and still being organized periodically. Retreats for elected officials and civil servants are desirable elements in achieving good and effective governance. It is a commendable action to ensure maximum maximum understanding of public management regimen and maximum deliver of public interest projects.

However,  we wish to call the attention of the Lagos State governor,  His Excellency Akinwumi Ambode, to the underlining currents of corruption rendering the whole budget and other policy retreats by the State's House of Assembly and now local government officials across the state  smelling of organised corruption through this open petition that will subsequently be submitted to the governor's office for necessary actions.

Two main reasons informed this open petition to the governor. One,  the Akinwumi Ambode administration has been generally adjudged to have recorded excellent feats of performance since the inception of his administration. We hold no contrary view on this considering the facts of performance on record. It is to safeguard this hard-earned reputation that we find it necessary to call his attention to what we consider improper, inappropriate, and utterly unacceptable.

Secondly,  in view of the vociferous public opposition to the tax regime review recently announced by the state government, it behoves on the government to be circumspect on how the state's resources and tax payers' moneys are being managed.

We find it economically, socially, and politically unacceptable and morally reprehensible for the state government's institutions to be holding retreats upon retreats in the same hotel everytime outside the state. Hotels in Lagos contribute in no small measures to the economic development of Lagos State through the payments of tax, VATs and a variety of other taxes to the Lagos State government monthly, beside their regular provision of employment for Lagosians. It is therefore a great injustice done to them and the tourism potentials of Lagos State if the state government's institutions refuse to patronize them while engaging in official activities.

Information at our disposal suggests that the AM-PM Hotel where all these retreats are being held all this while is allegedly owned by a member of the the Lagos State Cabinet popularly known as ORIS - Special Adviser to the governor on Community and Communication. Here we see a conflict of interest and what might,  with critical interrogation, end up being a conduit pipe for siphoning Lagos state's resources off the state. We learned that it has been this same hotel that the current  Lagos State Assembly has been using since inception that all the Lagos State LGA and LCDA have been directed to hold their conferences and retreats that cost Lagos tax payers' money to the tune of millions of Naira if not billions.

Why should the state's resources be taken out of the state to boost the economy of another state and the business interests of an individual at the expense of Lagos State tax payers? If the heavy costs expended on these retreats had been plowed back into the Lagos State economy by patronising the state's hotels,  it would have stimulated the state's economy further. But some powerful interests have decided to  corner all that for selfish financial gratification.

If the  governor is not involved in what is obviously a scam and which unconfirmed allegations allude to that it is part of the avenues of raising funds for his second term bid, he must step in and redress this awful embarrassment to his administration. We call on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to weigh in on this issue immediately with a view to avoiding giving credence to the allegations of his knowledge and endorsement of these condemnable infractions. We know that he has the ears of the governor and he is father to all. His voice will be respected and adhered to. Moreover,  there are serious allegations that some of the money being siphoned from the LGA allocations at source were at the instance of Asiwaju. His direct intervention on this matter will absolve him of such weighty allegations.

We demand for full disclosure of the expenses of the Lagos State Assembly since inception of the current legislature and the operations of the STATE-LG Joint Account where there have been allegations of mass corruption in which the LGAs are allegedly being severely shortchanged as moneys meant for them are being deducted at source and spent on frivolous things including sharing among some  Party bigwigs.

If the state government is desirous of successful mobilising Lagosians behind its tax drive for development, the culture of secrecy that has surrounded the revenue and expenditure profiles of the state since inception of the current administration must be jettisoned in favour of total transparency and accountability. This has been a recurrent challenge in the state which other organizations have addressed severally, especially BudgiT that is a foremost budget tracking and analysis organisation.

The time has come for a positive change of direction.

Failure to take a decision on this matter by the state's government in the next one week,  we will resort to both legal and mass advocacy actions to resolve it.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Comrade Mark Adebayo,

National Coordinator,



Comrade Toyin Raheem,

Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance (CACOBAG)

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