Reps frown over sale of 82 vehicles for N5.8m by NIMASA
… as committee demands documentary evidence of funds remitted to CRF account
Members of the House of Representatives have frowned over the sale of 82 vehicles for the sum of N5.8 million over the past 12 years by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
This was as the NIMASA Executive Director, Mr. Chudi Offodile announced the sale during the resumed investigative hearing into the ‘Disposal of public property by the Agencies between 2010 and 2022 to unravel the extent of illegal auctioning of public property, non-remittance of revenue realized into Consolidated Revenue Fund’, chaired by Hon. Julius Ihonbvere.
According to Offodile, the sale followed due process.
However, the chairman of the committee, Hon. Ihonbvere 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, maintained that the Auctioneers engaged by NIMASA were merely hired to rubber stamp the fictitious insider trading.
According to the documents presented and obtained it 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.
In the same vein, 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 for 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.
In his presentation, Mr. 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, however affirmed that the proceed of sales was paid by the Auctioneers into NIMASA’s coffers.
When asked whether the Agency has a mechanic workshop where faulty vehicles can be repaired, Mr. Offodile answered in the negative.
While expressing surprise that most of the vehicles displayed in the document presented to the Ad-hoc Committee didn’t show that they are old or not in good condition, Hon. Ihonbvere said: “looking at them (pictures of vehicles captured in the documents), some of them are looking new,” adding that for Nigerians, a 13 year old Toyota Hilux is not old.”
Hon. Ihonbvere thereafter narrated how a former Edo State Governor engaged a female mechanic to fix some of the vehicles tagged as unserviceable vehicles and recovered over 100 vehicles while other spare parts were stored.
He explained that over 100 vehicles fixed by the female mechanic were deployed to various MDAs, thereby blocking financial leakages.
Hon. Ihonbvere specifically expressed concern over the rationale behind the placement of an advert on the 29th March, 2022 calling for a public auction of NIMASA vehicles and sale of all the vehicles on the 30th March, 2022 through forced liquidation/auction.
While alleging that the move “leaves us with the impression that it’s a pre-arrangement,” the Majority Leader argued that the process contravened the extant Public Procurement Act to dispose public assets within the duration of 24 hours.
Hence, the lawmakers requested for 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 Federal Ministry of Works & Housing as well as Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
One of the lawmakers, expressed worry why the Agency only carried out sales of vehicles and did not have any record on sale of computers and other office equipment within the period under review.
Hon. Ihonbvere who requested for the registers of all the assets of NIMASA and other MDAs, disclosed that the asset registers would be computerised in the state-of-art library which is currently under construction within the National Assembly complex, to be commissioned by the end of September, 2023.
In the same vein, the lawmakers quizzed Sokoto River Basins’delegation over indiscriminate sales of public assets to too management of the Agency in breach of extant Public Procurement Act, at ridiculous prices.
To this end, Hon. Ihonbvere directed the delegation from NIMASA and Sokoto River Basin to provide relevant documents that will aid the ongoing investigation. The Ad-hoc Committee is expected to resume hearing on Wednesday, 20th September, 2023.