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Senate unravels how research institute sold 2 Prado Jeeps worth N31m for N1.5m

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Senate unravels how research institute sold 2 Prado Jeeps worth N31m for N1.5m
The leadership of the national assembly has uncovered how officials of the Lake Chad Research Institute, LCRI, Maiduguri, Borno State under the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, ARCN, sold two Prado Jeeps worth N31million for a paltry sum of N1.5 million.

ROYAL MEWS reports that the Prado Jeeps were procured in 2013 and 2014 respective but were sold three years after their procurement under the former Executive Director of the institute, Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji.

This was discovered in the 2017 Report of Auditor General for the Federation submitted to National Assembly for consideration.

Checks revelaed that the Executive Director of the institute, Dr. Alhassan Bibinu while appearing before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for investigative hearing on the query issued by the Office of Auditor General for the Federation, OAuGF on the sales, said he’s presently using a refurbished Hilux vehicle as official car.

Peeved by Bibinu’s information, chairman of the committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), summoned the former Executive Director who gave order for the sales of the two jeeps at ridiculous amount to appear before the committee during next sitting.

The query by OAuGF reads: “Management of the Institute could not account for 2 Nos. Toyota Prado Jeeps which were purchased in 2013 & 2014 with registration No. 45KOIFG for one Jeep and none for the other.

“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 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.”

“Inability of the Management of the Institute to account for Government property under their custody suggests abuse and mismanagement, as Government property may have been diverted to private use.

“The Executive Director is required to account for the vehicles. The issue was communicated to the Executive Director through my Audit Inspection Report Ref. No. EIAD/WTR 16/CORP/4 dated 21st December, 2017 but he failed to respond.”

In its response, the Institute said: “The vehicle (Prado Jeep) was purchased on 21st March, 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 only.”

On the second Prado Jeep, the Institute stated: “The Prado Jeep was purchased on 18th September, 2013 at the cost of N12.4 million and request for approval to board to sell the vehicle was written to ARCN dated on June 7th , 2017.”

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