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Why Reps delivered 28 Peugeot cars to members


News » Politics
Nigeria

November.18.2016

The fear of being dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by the Transparency Group of the House of Representatives may have made the leadership of the House to hurriedly order for the purchase and delivery of 28 exotic cars for members, investigations revealed. 

This is as the cost of the Peugeot 508 model which was initially budgeted for N3.6 billion for 360 cars has gone up for N4.8 billion with each member paying N13 million instead of the former N10 million cost price of each unit. PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI INSPECTING A PEUGEOT CAR BROUGHT TO THE STATE HOUSE BY PAN NIGERIA (File) Meanwhile, there is no trace of the cars within the National Assembly complex unlike the previous tradition where such new cars would be parked at sensitive areas for onward distributions to members.

The House had approved the purchase of 360 cars for oversight functions of members in the 2015 budget at the cost of N3.6 billion, but the legislature/executive face off appeared to have affected the purchase. Besides, there was outcry from members of the public who had condemned buying cars for individual members at an exorbitant price in the midst of the economic recession facing the country, just as President Muhammadu Buhari had reportedly disapproved the purchase of cars for members.

Vanguard investigations revealed that the Transparency Group, which is the group opposed to the leadership of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, had in its meeting last week, concluded cried foul over the alleged misappropriation of the money budgeted for the purchase of the vehicles since December last year and had planned to drag the leadership of the House to the EFCC.

Some members of the House had confirmed to Vanguard that they were confronted by the Transparency Group that threatened to drag the Speaker and other principal officers to the anti-graft agency for allegedly “stealing” money earmarked for the purchase of the cars.

This according to sources in the House forced the leadership to hurriedly order for the delivery of 28 out of the 50 to be delivered in the first phase to save its face from any embarrassment.

Recall that it was reported that the delivery of 360 exotic cars to the lawmakers began last weekend amid the economic downturn in the country and that 28 units of the Peugeot 508 series had already been delivered to lawmakers in Abuja.

The 28 were among the first batch of 50 cars supplied by the Kaduna-based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited. However, Vanguard inquiry revealed that the Transparency Group had in its meeting last week concluded that the money for the purchase of the cars had been embezzled by the leadership of the House, and had decided to address the press to tell the world that the money had been stolen by the House leaders.

A source within the group had said, “We wanted to bring it out to the world that, that money had been stolen. They (the House leadership) told us that before June this year, the cars will be ready, we thought that before we come back from the vacation, we will see them.

“So after our meeting last week, we wanted to tell the world that the money had been stolen but we didn’t know that we have moles among us who may have leaked the information.” Although the source said that the N13 million current unit price of each car was not exorbitant, he noted that what was expected to be supplied following the tradition of the House was 400 units and not 360, adding that the Speaker will have additional 20 cars, the deputy Speaker, additional 10 and the Chairman, House Services, additional five among others.

He said, “If you are buying a Peugeot at N13 million now, it is not expensive. It is about $28,000. Last week, our group sat and said among other issues that we will raise is the issue of vehicles and we confronted some of them (members loyal to Speaker).

“The information we had was that they have spent the money. The purchase of cars was in the 2015 budget. What we said that they have stolen the money was what brought out the 28 cars you are seeing today. “In our meeting, there is a mole, now they have beaten us,” he stated.

The member who expressed surprise that 28 cars had been delivered without the knowledge of many members said that what the lawmakers agreed on ab initio was the purchase of 2015 Model of Toyota Camry, but that because of the high price of the Camry product, they later agreed to go for Peugeot.

He said that an indication that the leadership was not serious with the purchase of the vehicle was the delivery of 28 cars instead of even 50, adding, “the truth is that they have spent that money and decided to rush because we have threatened to expose them. “What they just did was to create the impression that the cars have started coming and they may not bring all.

They are being clever by half. I am sure that they have not paid for them. We planned to write to the EFCC to investigate the money. I am sure somebody from our group went and told them (the leadership).” Although it was reported that the 28 units of cars were distributed to female lawmakers and members who did not occupy committee headships, a female lawmaker from the South-South told Vanguard that she had not been given the car yet.

When contacted, Chairman House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas said, “we have taken delivery of 28 cars and the process is a gradual one. “After this batch, we will get another but according to our tradition, the ladies will get first. The next set of people are non-committee chairmen and deputy chairmen. “We opted for an indigenous firm to save cost and get a better bargain.”

Vanguard gathered that the tradition before now was for the cars to be brought at the assembly complex before being distributed to the individual owners, but this was not the case this time as the cars were not brought to the complex. However, reports have it that the luxury cars would arrive in Abuja in batches till January, 2017 when all members would have picked a unit.

It was further gathered that as a result of the current recession in the country, it was agreed that the lawmakers would make the payment of the car which cost N3.6 billion within 24 months or “two years’ budget.” Besides, the House has to pay additional N1.08 billion to successfully secure the N360 Peugeot that was ordered from Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited (PAN) in April.

Based on the House arrangement with PAN, delivery of the 360 vehicles was to begin in July, but it was gathered that due to some hitches, the first batch, containing 50 cars, was delivered just last month. It was gathered that due to the challenges of foreign exchange, which made the naira to be far lower than the dollar, PAN was said to have requested for a review of the contract to allow for an additional N3 million on each of the 360 vehicles, totaling N1.80 billion.

By this, the House would now have to pay N4.68 billion instead of the initial N3.6 billion.

Article Credit: vanguardngr.com

Updated 1 Year ago
 

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