Two companies, linked with All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, Mr. Bola Tinubu, and Mr. Lasisi Olalekan, Special Adviser on Taxation to Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, governor of Lagos State, SaharaReporters can reveal, were approved by law to collect the contentious Land Use Charge in Lagos State.
They are expected to handle the collection along with Alpha Beta, another company with links to Mr. Tinubu.
The 400 percent hike in the Land Use Charge, following an amendment of the law backing it, has provoked strident disapproval by the public. The disapproval became more intense after it was discovered that Alpha Beta, in which Mr. Tinubu is a major shareholder or the owner, was inserted as a collecting agent.
SaharaReporters investigations revealed that the two other collecting companies are Information Connectivity Solutions Limited (ICSL) and De Soffit Consults Limited. ICSL, SaharaReporters discovered, is a sister organization to Mr. Tinubu’s Alpha.
SaharaReporters searches at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) showed that ICSL has two directors, Messrs. Abiodun Akinkunmi and Lanre Bankole.
Mr. Akinkunmi, a former Lagos State Finance Commissioner, was on the board of Alpha Beta while serving as commissioner, a contravention of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
The country’s Public Service Code bars public office holders from working in private organizations. The code equally bars public officials from putting themselves in positions where personal interest could conflict with their duties and responsibilities.
Upon registration, SaharaReporters gathered, the shareholders of ICSL were Alpha Beta Consulting Limited with 4,999,999 shares and Mr. Tunde Badejo, who had just one share. To deflect suspicion, Alpha Beta transferred its shares to Connectivity Investment Holding Company (CIHC) and the Document of Transfer was filed at CAC on 13 July 2017. CIHC further transferred all its shares to ICSL on 28 July 2015.
The second company, De Soffit Consults Limited, with registration number RC 932446, has as one of its directors, Mr. Lasisi Olalekan, Special Adviser on Taxation and Revenue Matters to Mr. Ambode.
According to documents from the CAC, Olalekan owns 40 percent equity in the company, while one Mr. Ogunlana Femi owns 30 percent. The remaining 30 percent is owned by one Mr. Lawal Olanrewaju.
The Lagos State governor appointed Mr. Olalekan as Special Adviser while holding the position of Managing Director of De Soffit Consults Limited.
Since assuming office as Special Adviser and up till date Mr. Olalekan functions as a director of De Soffit in contravention of the Public Service Code.
With his appointment of staff of privately owned companies, who refuse to relinquish their previous jobs, Mr. Ambode appears not to be interested in the violation of Code of Conduct for Public Officers and the conflict of interest of the officials involved.