The Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Yomi Omomuwasan, on Monday failed to declare how much the company makes from toll collection.
Omomuwasan was speaking with Nigeria Info’s Sandra Ezekwesili when he was asked how much the LCC makes monthly. Rather than answer, he simply said “we don’t have a figure to that, Sandra” then looked the other way.
When Ezekwesili insisted, asking: “You don’t know how much you make per month?”, his response was “We don’t know.”
Omomuwasan blamed the Covid-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protest for his inability to give an estimate of monthly earnings. When asked to give a projection of monthly earnings based on the revenue the LCC made every month since 2011 when it began collecting tolls on Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway, excluding 2020, the chartered accountant insisted that he did not know.
“What is not made will not reflect in financial statements,” he said, responding to a question on whether the LCC has financial statements. Users of the road pay between N100 and N1,000 per trip.
A financial expert told FIJ that for the LCC, a limited liability company, which has creditors, financial regulators and shareholders it reports to, to say that it does not know how much it makes, suggests that something unscrupulous is going on at the firm.
“Does he prepare final accounts such as profit and loss that get audited and filed when the year ends? If he does that and says he doesn’t know what the LCC makes, it is highly questionable,” the expert said.
“For a business that makes money every day, there is no way you won’t have daily, weekly and yearly records. There is Value Added Tax and the Company Income Tax; how does the LCC remit taxes if it does not know how much it makes monthly?”
Controversial Concession, Secretive Deal
The nature of the deal between the Lagos State government and the LCC remains controversial many years after it was first signed in April 2006 when the latter got a 30-year build, operate and transfer agreement of the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
With the Fashola administration subsequently buying out the concession right from the LCC in December 2014, the agreement was terminated. At the time, the government said that it took the action to prevent the concessionaire from arbitrarily increasing tolls.
In the 2014 appropriation budget, N25.3 billion was earmarked to take over the LCC by the state government. Having taken ownership of the LCC, including its assets and liabilities, there are concerns that the pre-acquisition concession agreement should no longer exist. But the LCC said that there were debts to be paid with the tolls collected.
“What they said was that the shareholders of the private companies then were bought out and that the concession agreement continues. That’s what I heard, that’s what I know. I am not aware they said some monies have been fully paid,” Omomuwasan said.
‘No one stopped us from operating’
Omomuwasan said that the LCC stopped operating because of the destruction of its facility in the wake of the End SARS protest.
“If not for the destruction, if not for the burning down of the facility, operations would have been on since that event of October 20. It’s like a forced situation; we were forced out by the destruction of the e-tolling system. It is not as if somebody somewhere stopped us all along from tolling.”
The move to resume operations at the Lekki toll gate by the LCC following a controversial ruling by some members of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS-Related Abuses triggered backlash and prompted calls to occupy the toll gate.
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