- Category: Corruption
- Published on Monday, 12 March 2012 10:47
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 612
SENATORS have taken delivery of the latest Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) worth at least N1.33 billion.
To avoid the controversies and condemnation like what happened under the erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, the deal was alleged to have been executed by the National Assembly Service Commission.
It is not certain how much a unit of the SUV is worth on paper, but confirmations from Toyota showed that the cars sell for $68,920 (about N11.027 million) per unit.
For 109 Senators, the total cost stands at N1.201 billion. The profit margin, according to dealers, should be about $7,400 (about N1.2 million) each. The total cost is expected to be N1.33 billion.
In the last legislative session, Senators purchased Toyota Camry cars at a unit cost of N9 million, while House of Representatives members bought Peugeot cars for huge sums.
The cars are usually sold for pittance to lawmakers at the end of their tenures.
After similar expenditures in the past sparked fierce condemnation from Nigerians, the lawmakers realised they needed to be discreet about the way they acquire and take possession of the new cars.
Several batches of 2012 Toyota Prado SUVs, mixed with a large number of imported government transport scheme buses, have in the past few days been delivered through a dealer at Gimbiya Street, Garki, Abuja.
As the consignments arrive in relatively fewer numbers, the lawmakers take delivery of them, while those yet to be served await further shipments.
Officially, Senators have refused to comment on the purchase.
Their spokesperson, Enyinnya Abaribe, could not be reached on his mobile lines.
However, an impeccable source at the Senate claimed that the purchases are meant for committee operations, the same reason cited for acquiring Camry cars in the past.
A senior official of the National Assembly, who does not want his name in print, said that the acquisition of the cars was a violation of the monetisation policy of the Federal Government.
Under the policy, no new vehicles should be purchased by any agency of the government for use by officials.
Rather, public officers and political office holders are to receive 350 per cent of their annual basic salary as motor vehicle loan payable in six years at an interest rate of four per cent.