8th Assembly: Senators, Reps buy SUVs, property at give-away prices

8th Assembly: Senators, Reps buy SUVs, property at give-away prices

- Corruption allegations continue to dominate the National Assembly frequently

- Another allegation of selling items at scandalously give-away prices to outgoing lawmakers has surfaced

- Some of the items sold to the lawmakers at very ridiculous amounts included Toyota Land Cruiser, office computers, photocopiers and refrigerators, among others

A report by New Telegraph has revealed how sharp practices allegedly characterised sales of National Assembly property during the transition from the 8th Assembly to the recently inaugurated 9th Assembly.

According to the report, sales of most of the property of the National Assembly used by members of the 8th Assembly revealed that the authorities of the apex legislative institution connived with outgoing federal lawmakers to sell the items at scandalously give-away prices.

Some of the items sold to the lawmakers at very ridiculous amounts included Toyota Land Cruiser, office computers, photocopiers and refrigerators, among others.

It was learnt that the National Assembly management gave out the Toyota Land Cruiser, a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), which was purchased between N24 million and N26 million each, to the senators and reps of the last Assembly for a paltry sum of N1 million.

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It was also learnt that the NASS management collected the sum of N360,000 only from the lawmakers for two television sets, photocopier, desktop computers and a big refrigerator put together.

This happened at the tail end of the last Assembly when the management was taking stock of what they supplied to the lawmakers for their use in the dispensation spanning June 9, 2015 to June 11, 2019, in order to supply members of the current Assembly with basic working facilities.

All the items, which were given out almost free to the legislators of the last Assembly, would be purchased afresh and supplied to members of the Ninth Assembly, which was inaugurated on Tuesday, June 11.

A National Assembly source quoted in the report said the Toyota SUV, which was given out for N1 million only, was purchased at the contract sum of between N24 million and N26 million when it was supplied to the lawmakers in 2015.

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The source also hinted that the contract price of each television set at the National Assembly was N2 million when the item was supplied to senators and members of the House of Representatives in the last Assembly.

This means that the cost of the two television sets mounted in each office of the lawmakers (one set in the politician’s office and one in the visitors’ waiting room) cost N4 million.

The National Assembly Management however, asked the lawmakers to pay N360,000 for both the television sets, musical system and other electronic gadgets installed in their offices.

It was learnt that the management wanted to sell the whole items for N540,000, but the lawmakers negotiated the price down and insisted that they would only pay N360,000.

A source said: “This practice of selling properties used by previous Assembly at give-away prices did not start today; that is how they used to do it, but the only difference is that the amounts collected from members of the 8th Assembly on those items appear to be the lowest and it is not helping our economy at all.

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“Come to think of it, a Prado Jeep (SUV), which was supplied by contractors at the rate of between N24 million and N26 million was given out at N1 million only. It’s almost like dashing them the car.

“The most painful thing when you look at the matter very critically, is that the management is going to supply brand new vehicles to the lawmakers in the present Assembly and it’s going to be very expensive. Where will they get the money to do that, is it not from public fund?

“They should have collected more money from those outgone legislators and then make up the money to buy for those in the present Assembly. This is why the National Assembly budget will continue to go up because there is no prudent management.

“Again, look at the issue of the office equipment such as television sets, sound system, photocopier, computer sets and other facilities in their office, the management of the National Assembly gave it out at a paltry sum of N360,000. It was actually like giving those items out for free.”

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Meanwhile, the Oyo state government on Monday, August 12, declared that the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi misrepresented facts as regards the vehicles allegedly carted away by operatives of his government.

The former governor, had while speaking to journalists on the occasion of this year's Eid-il- Kabir celebration, described the alarm raised by the incumbent government in Oyo as a "minor issue," adding that his aides paid for the vehicles they carted away.

But a statement by the chief press secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa indicated that the former governor mixed up the facts of the matter.

“The vehicles we are concerned about are official cars carted away without legal instruments. Contrary to the statement of former Governor Ajimobi, many of the vehicles carted away illegally are new and in working conditions.

“You cannot possibly classify a vehicle procured in February of this year as an old car just a few months after it was purchased,” Adisa said.

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