The House of Representatives Committee investigating the ‘Disposal of Public Property by Agencies between 2010 and 2022 to unravel the extent of illegal auctioning of public property, non-remittance of revenue realized into Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), has expressed shock that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) sold 82 vehicles for the sum of N5.8 million over the past 12 years.
NIMASA’s Executive Director, Mr. Chudi Offodile, announced the sales during the resumed investigative hearing of the committee chaired by Hon. Julius Ihonbvere, in Abuja.
He said that due process was followed in the auction.
Offodile, who denied knowledge of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, on the remittance of the funds generated from the sale of public assets, affirmed that the proceeds of sales were paid by the Auctioneers into NIMASA’s coffers.
The Committee Chairman Hon Ihonbvere, while expressing surprise that most of the vehicles displayed in the document presented to the ad-hoc committee did not show that they were old or not in good condition.
,“Looking at them (pictures of vehicles captured in the documents), some of them are looking new,” Hon Ihonbvere said.
He also expressed concern over the rationale behind the placement of an advert on March 29, 2022, calling for a public auction of NIMASA vehicles and the sale of all the vehicles on March 30, 2022, through forced liquidation/auction.
He said the move “leaves us with the impression that it’s a pre-arrangement.”
Hon Ihonbvere stressed that the process contravened the extant Public Procurement Act to dispose of public assets within the duration of 24 hours and disclosed that the Ad-hoc Committee was in custody of petitions against NIMASA that the vehicles were sold to some officials and staff of the Agency, maintaining that the auctioneers engaged by NIMASA were merely hired to rubber stamp the fictitious insider trading.
According to the committee, the documents presented showed that “Peugeot Expert Ambulance with market value of N200,000 was sold at forced liquidation/auction value of N95,000; Honda Civic Saloon Car with market value of N170,000 was sold at N76,500; Toyota Hilux (Grounded) with market value of N300,000 was sold at N140,000; another Toyota Hilux (Accidental) with market value of N200,000 was sold at N96,000 while another Toyota Hilux (Grounded) with market value of N250,000 was sold at N115,000”.
“Two units of Toyota Hilux which was at the time of inspection in the custody of Carbotage Consultant in Lagos, put at N1 million market value, was sold at N470,000 each forced liquidation/auction value; Honda Civic put at N210,000 was sold at N95,000; Honda City put at N190,000 market value was sold at N80,000; among others.
“Through its office in Abuja, a Toyota Hilux put at N500,000 market value was sold at N245,000; Toyota Avensis put at N300,000 market value was sold at N145,000; Toyota Corolla put at N300,000 market value was sold at N147,000; two units of Honda Civic put at N90,000 market value were sold at N30,000 each; among others.”
Other lawmakers who spoke during the investigative hearing, demanded documentary evidence of funds remitted into the CRF account as provided by extant provisions of the Procurement Act, Proceed of Crimes Act, and other known legislations or financial regulations.
The lawmakers also requested a list of all the auctioneers as well as beneficiaries of the vehicles, the original cost of vehicles and invoices, letter of contract awards for auctioning of the assets to the auctioneers; relevant approvals obtained from the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing as well as Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
The lawmakers also quizzed a delegation from the Sokoto River Basins Development Authority over indiscriminate sales of public assets to the management of the Agency in breach of the extant Public Procurement Act, at ridiculous prices.
The Chairman directed the delegation from NIMASA and Sokoto River Basin Development Authority, to provide relevant documents that would aid the ongoing investigation.
The Ad-hoc Committee is expected to resume hearing on Wednesday, 20th September, 2023.
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