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Senate queries Agric Bank MD over missing N49m exotic SUVs

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Senate queries Agric Bank MD over missing N49m exotic SUVs

There was a mild drama at the weekend during the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) meeting as the Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan was unable to show evidence of purchasing of two brand new Toyota Prado, and Ford Ranger sport utility vehicles (SUVs) for the purpose of monitoring Agriculture Mechanization programmes.

The Senate Panel had summoned the Managing Director of Bank of Agric following the query raised from Office of Auditor General’s in 2017 report on the missing vehicles in the Bank of Agric in Kaduna .

However, when the Managing Director of the Bank appeared before the Panel to respond to the query of the missing vehicles worth about N49 million , no document was presented to the members of the Committee to indicate that the vehicles were even purchased.

The Managing Director was only able to present a letter from Ministry of Agric which mandated him to withdraw money from Agricultural Mechanization Fund to procure the vehicles.

Members of the Committee were shocked as the Managing Director of the Bank was unable to show any concrete evidence that the vehicles were on ground.

Senator Urhoghide wondered how the MD was paid for such vehicles without seeing the vehicles in first instance .

The Chairman submitted that those vehicles were never bought by the Bank of Agric and sustained the query of Auditor General against the bank.

He also ordered refund of the amount expended for purchase of the vehicles into Federation account.

The query reads: “The Bank expended the sum of N49,026,333.32 (Forty-nine million, twenty-six thousand, three hundred and thirty-three naira, thirty-two kobo), from the Agricultural Mechanization Fund specifically meant for lending to operators, on various unrelated projects. For instance, the sum of N23,122,095.24 (Twenty-three million, one hundred and twenty-two thousand, ninety-five naira, twenty-four kobo) was paid to a motor dealer through payment voucher number 0103576 dated 29th September, 2015 for the purchase of two Toyota Prado Jeeps.

“Similarly, the sum of N25,904,238.08 (Twenty-five million, nine hundred and four thousand, two hundred and thirty-eight naira, eight kobo) was paid to another motor dealer for purchase of Ford Ranger Jeeps vide payment voucher number 0103579 of 29th September, 2015.

“These purchases were purportedly made as project vehicles for the Agric Mechanization programme. The management of the Bank could not justify the choice and the use of these exotic vehicles for supervision. The vehicles could also not be produced for inspection during the periodic check.

“The Managing Director should be compelled to account for all the stated motor vehicles, or refund to Government the sum of N49,026,333.32.”

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