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Fashola Explains How He Spent N78 Million On Website Upgrade

By Ayo Balogun – After six days of silence, former Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatnde Fashola opened up on the N78 million website scandal leveled against him.

The former governor, in a statement on Thursday said he is clean and innocent of the allegations against him of upgrading his website with N78 million instead of N33,000.

He said while there was N78 million contract for the website project, the informations enclosed therein were distorted by agents of hate against his personality.

Fashola said due process was followed in awarding the contract as it went through the Procurement agency of government.

According to him, one of the services was an ‘upgrade’ quoted for N12.5 million but awarded for N12 million, as there were other services that were new, like the handover countdown clock, mobile apps for Google, for IOS and Ipad, for Microsoft and Research in Motion (Blackberry), which the existing website did not have as well as the annual maintenance cost for managing the website.

The former governor explained that it was for all these services that the contract was issued for N78 million, which the Lagos State Procurement Agency gave a ‘no objection’ based on the advice of the Ministry of Science and Technology, who are the government adviser on ICT matters.

He added that in publishing the contract award which the government tradition under his 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.’

” For those who are familiar with mobile applications, they will know that users either pay for them online or download them free. What is usually was that applications for service were usually provided to users free, but somebody bears the cost.

“Since these applications were to be made available to the public for free access and to assist government communication, we decided to pay for them. The entire documents are with the Lagos State Government and are available for those who seek the truth. For the record, since 2008, long before the Freedom of Information Act was ever passed, we had put out all our contracts on the State website because I believe people deserved to know.

“It is regrettable that a ‘summary’ of the contract has been deliberately distorted to misinform the public. This particular website came into being as a result of the decision I made to make my telephone number public for the several thousands of people seeking to reach me daily,” Fashola stated.

He explained that till date, there had been 27.666 million hits on this website, with 1,844 videos, 34,381 photographs, 2,531 press releases and 595 speeches, among other items of public communication.

Fashola said he expected that there might be more distorted allegations without evidence for reasons that remained in the realm of speculation as he had been reliably informed that large amounts of money were being paid to some of these agents to bear false witness against him.

The former governor reacted to allegations against his paternity, saying such reports were wicked and false.

He stated equivocally that “I have no biological children other than my two children. Of course, I adopted three children who became orphaned as a result of the tragic DANA Airplane crash of 2012 and the adoption followed due process.

“Those who do not care whether they hurt innocent children or invade the privacy of other citizens in their mindless rage against me will have their rewards served upon them in the fulness of time,” he said bitterlly.

On allegation that he plunged the state into debt, Fashola said Lagos had always had debt and ran mostly on budget deficit which encouraged borrowing, but noted that such borrowing were done through the right channels and were used for developing the state.


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