Senate Probes Institute over Sale of N31m SUVs for N1.5m


The Senate has begun to investigate officials of Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, for the sale of two Prado Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) valued at N31 million for a paltry N1.5 million without due process.

Its Committee on Public Accounts which is carriyng out the probe said it discovered that The Prado cars were procured in 2013 and 2014 respectively and sold three years after.

The Panel chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide was enraged when the Executive Director, Dr. Alhassan Bibinu, claimed that he had no official vehicle, but was using refurbish Hilux van as official car.

It issued the query based on the 2017 Report of Auditor-General of the Federation submitted to the National Assembly for consideration.

“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 and the other unregistered. No reason was given for not registering the second. 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 pecuniarily responsible for government property under his control or in his custody.

‘’ Inability of the management of the institute to account for government property under its custody suggests abuse and mismanagement, as government property may have been diverted to private use,” the committee stated.

The Committee said the Executive Director, who was communicated through the Audit Inspection Report Ref. No. EIAD/WTR 16/CORP/4 of December 12, 2017, but failed to respond, is required to account for the vehicles.

However, in its claim of following due process in the sale, the institute responded: “The vehicle (Prado jeep) was purchased on March 21, 2014 at the cost of N18.7 million 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.

It said, “On the second Prado jeep, which was purchased on September 18, 2013 at N12.4 million, a request was written to ARCN dated on June 7, 2017.”