The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has issued an order to the Nigerian federal government to investigate the operator of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, which it accuses of mismanaging public funds.
In a letter from the commission, the government was told to instruct its Permanent Secretary, Chief of Staff, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Accountant General, and Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement, to determine if the company involved, Transcorp, is deserving of carrying on its operations within the country.
Notably, the NCC has in the past stated that the toll booth that charges motorists from its toll gate along the Lekki-Epe Expressway is not paid by Nigerians but by the Foreign investors in the motor park.
However, the Nigerian government has not disclosed the precise source of their revenue. In a two paragraph statement to CNN on the issue, the government said there is “no evidence to suggest that the operators of Lekki Toll Gate collected toll payments from Nigerians to finance their activities within the country.
“The Government reiterates its decision to invite the company that organised and ran the Lekki-Epe tollgate before disengaging from the concession agreement with them to conduct a thorough investigation into the activities of the concessionaire and its management which include the allegation that they have been collecting tolls from Nigerians without remitting such monies to the Federal Government.
“If the allegation of non-receipt of toll charges from Nigerians is established, the company may be sanctioned including legal action at appropriate times.”
Meanwhile, in an interview in Lagos last week, the CEO of Transcorp, Tony Elumelu, who purchased Transcorp from the Nigerians who gained stakeholding from the British Petroleum investment in 2003, confirmed that they receive toll revenue from the road, but acknowledged, “but only a fraction of it”.
He also refuted the NCC’s claim that toll revenue is not commensurate with the toll gate and asserted that the concessionaire works for the government of Lagos state which holds the concession agreements.
Speaking from the ministerial reception he held with His Excellency, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari when he visited the national capital city in June, Mr Elumelu said that he had undertaken an inquiry with the Toll Gate Manager on behalf of the government of Lagos state where he got a 200% clearance that the state pays all revenues to the Federal Government.
Elumelu however, refused to provide specifics on whether the Nigerians he paid money to have the toll gate launched had taken up the opportunity to voice their complaints of non-receipt of toll fees from the toll gate operator. He did however present them with the payment receipts for their efforts at creating job opportunities in the state.
Mr Elumelu spoke more highly of the Nigerian road system saying, ” the condition of some Nigerian roads is better than those of the neighboring countries of Ghana, Cameroun, and Benin.”