Members of the House of Representatives expressed shock at the weekend over the admission by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for selling 82 vehicles for N5.8million in 12 years.
NIMASA Executive Director, Chudi Offodile, who made the revelation at the resumed hearing of the House Committee investigating the disposal of public property by MDAs between 2010 and 2022, chaired by Hon. Julius Ihonvbere, said due process was followed in the sale of the vehicles.
Some documents presented by the agency obtained by LEADERSHIP 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.
Also, two units of Toyota Hilux which were at the time of inspection in the custody of Carbotage Consultant in Lagos put at N1 million market value, were 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.
Furthermore, at NIMASA 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.
Some 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.
The NIMASA official, Offodile, feigned ignorance of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 on the remittance of the funds generated from the sale of public assets but said the proceed of sales was paid by the Auctioneers into the agency’s coffers
The Committee’s chairman and House leader, Ihonvbere, expressed surprise that most of the vehicles displayed in the document presented to the panel did not appear old or not in good condition.
He 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.”
He expressed concern over the rationale behind the placement of an advert on the March 29, 2022 calling for a public auction of NIMASA vehicles and sale of all the vehicles on the March 30, 2022 through forced liquidation/auction.
Ihonvbere said the move leaves lawmaker with the impression that it is was a pre-arrangement, stressing that the process contravened the extant Public Procurement Act to dispose public assets within the duration of 24 hours.
He disclosed that the Ad-hoc Committee is in custody of petitions against NIMASA that the vehicles were sold to some officials and staff of the Agency, saying the auctioneers engaged by the agency were merely hired to rubber stamp the fictitious insider trading.
Consequently, the Committee requested for 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 Federal Ministry of Works & Housing as well as Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Similarly, the panel grilled Sokoto River Basins Authority over indiscriminate sale of public assets to management of the agency in breach of extant Public Procurement Act, at ridiculous prices.
Ruling, Ihonvbere directed the NIMASA and Sokoto River Basin Authority representatives to provide relevant documents that will aid the ongoing investigation by the House of Representatives.