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17 Abia State govt vehicles secretly sold off for N317,000

  • Vehicles were auctioned at N10,000 and N25,000 each, and two more are missing at the Ministry of Agriculture

A committee on Public Accounts, Anti-Corruption and Due Process in Abia State house of Assembly is investigating the sale of 17 vehicles belonging to the State’s Secondary Education Management Board for N317,000 as well as student buses parked in the Ministry of Agriculture.

A hearing by the committee on Friday did not proceed after respondents from the Government House and Ministry of Transport failed to appear.

Chairman of the committee, Jerry Uzosike, read a petition in the House on Friday challenging the sale of the vehicles “without due process of auctioning of government property.”

The board is alleged to have auctioned the vehicles at N10,000 and N25,000 each, depending on the brand, even though none was declared “beyond economic recovery.”

Two more vehicles—a Peugeot 504 and 505—sent for repairs, with repair bills paid, did not return, and are said to be missing, according to the petition.

The house is questioning the pre-auction process and whether due approval was given, according to Chukwu Chijioke, Deputy Minority Leader and member representing Bende Constituency.

In the absence of officials from Abia State Government House and Ministry of Transport to answer questions, the House adjourned its investigation to January 27, 2021.

Ahead of the hearing, the House had mandated the Education Board to produce documentary evidence that:

  • the auction was approved by the State Governor,
  • evidence showing the vehicles were declared “beyond economic recovery” before the auction,
  • a national daily containing advert for the auction,
  • applications sent in by auctioneers,
  • licence and valid certificate showing that the auctioneer is a member of the [Nigeria Association of Auctioneers],
  • official sale and evaluation reports of the vehicles and
  • a proper inventory of the cars as well as other documents empowering the alleged auction of the vehicles and evidence of payment into the account of the Board of Internal Revenue of the State.

Apart from the illegal auctioning by the State Education Board, the Abia State Ministry of Agriculture is also facing allegations of “undue and illegal” auctioning of student buses parked on its premises.

First published in Daily Trust

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