The Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday began investigation into the alleged sale of two Prado jeeps for N1.5million by officials of the Lake Chad Research Institute in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Accordingly, the two jeeps reportedly worth N31million.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mathew Urhoghide, expressed shock when the Executive Director of the institute, Dr. Alhassan Bibinu, told the committee that he was using a refurbished Hilux as the official car.
The committee discovered the ridiculous transaction while scrutinising the 2015-2018 Auditor-General of the Federation’s report currently being treated by both chambers of the National Assembly.
According to AuGF, the jeeps were procured in 2013 and 2014 respectively but were sold three years after they were procured.
The AuGF later issued a query following the inability of the institute’s management to provide reasons for the ridiculous sale of the jeeps.
The query read: “The management of the institute could not account for two Toyota Prado Jeeps which were purchased in 2013 and 2014 with registration No. 45KOIFG for one Jeep while the other had not been registered.
“No reason was given for not registering the second Prado Jeep. In addition, a Toyota Hiace bus with registration No. 45KO3FG could not be accounted for during the audit.
“This is a violation of Financial Regulation 2128 which states that ‘every public officer is personally and pecuniary responsible for government property under his control or in his custody.”
In its response, the institute said:” The vehicle (Prado Jeep) was purchased on 21st March 2014 at the Cost of N18.7million and the former Executive Director, Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji, sought the approval of ARCN for boarding the vehicle to the former chairman Governing Board, Mr. Yakubu Tsala at the cost of N750,000 only.”
“The second Prado Jeep was purchased on 18th September 2013 at the cost of N12.4million and request for approval to board the vehicle and was written to ARCN dated on June 7, 2017.”
The committee, however, ordered the institute to come along with the former Executive Director who allegedly gave the order for selling the vehicles.