N255m cars: Jonathan silent on Reps report; lawmakers recommends Stella Oduah’s sack, 3-year jail term
Committee which investigated the controversial purchase of N255million BMW bullet proof cars for Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, has recommended her sack, a three-years jail term and a fine of N100,000 as stipulated by the law.
DailyPost today gathered that the full report is being spiritedly shielded from the glare of the public to avoid another round of outcry as witnessed when SaharaReporters broke the story in October.
The lawmakers after two weeks of investigation, found out that the cars were not listed in the budget by NCAA, the agency compelled by the Minister to make the purchase.
The reports says,”that spending public funds on unbudgeted projects attracts three years in jail and a fine of N100, 000 as stipulated by the ICPC Act.”
They therefore recommended that “The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should review the continued engagement of the Hon. Minister for Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, having contravened the 2013 appropriation and approved revised thresholds by exceeding her approval limit of N100m with the purchase of 54 vehicles valued at N643m.”
The Committee also asked that supplier of the overvalued cars, Coscharis Motors Limited, owned by businessman, Cosmos Maduka, be thoroughly prosecuted.
“Coscharis Nigeria Limited should be investigated on the issue of waiver, source and exact cost of the two (2) BMW vehicles supplied to NCAA. It should be made to pay the waiver value into the treasury account.”
Below is (in parts) summary of the findings and recommendation by the committee.
“The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has found minister of aviation, Princess Stella Oduah guilty of wasteful public spending, and stampeding the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) into buying her two BMW bulletproof cars that cost N255m.
“That the contract for the purchase of the cars was not listed in the budget by NCAA, the agency compelled by the minister to make the purchase, and was not listed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
“That spending public funds on unbudgeted projects attracts three years in jail and a fine of N100, 000 as stipulated by the ICPC Act.”
The legislators insisted that the NCAA did not comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Act on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as it has not been remitting its IGR to the federation account contrary to Section 177 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations (2009).
The report said that Ms. Stella Oduah committed contempt of the parliament by approving a sum in the 2014 budget when it has not been presented to the National Assembly.
“The minister’s poor supervisory role led NCAA into unilaterally appropriating funds against next year’s budget. The above is an indirect contempt of parliament, even so that the president and commander-in-chief has not submitted to the National Assembly the 2014 Appropriation Bill.”
“The minister has not addressed why the NCAA paid a price tag that auto dealers in the US and UK described as ‘a rip-off’. It is a fact that each of the BMW cars should cost no more than $167,000 which is approximately N36 million.
“Aviation minister approved NCAA’s request to procure 55 operational vehicles valued at N564.665 million; there is no evidence to show that the Hon. Minister presented NCAA’s request to FEC for its approval. Further, the attempt to procure now and pay later is against the extant laws of the federation.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should review the continued engagement of the Hon. Minister for Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, having contravened the 2013 appropriation and approved revised thresholds by exceeding her approval limit of N100m with the purchase of 54 vehicles valued at N643m”.
The lawmakers further recommended that the “Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant anti-corruption agencies further investigate the discrepancies and the chassis number DW68032 of the vehicles on the one reported to be delivered and the one inspected by the committee, and, if found wanting, prosecute all persons/institutions involved in the transaction”.
According to them, “Coscharis Nigeria Limited should be investigated on the issue of waiver, source and exact cost of the two (2) BMW vehicles supplied to NCAA. It should be made to pay the waiver value into the treasury account.
“Coscharis Motors Limited claimed that the Federal Ministry of Finance granted it import duty, VAT, ETLS, CISS and port charges waiver to import two (2) bulletproof BMW armoured cars. This claim is false.”
They also discovered that: “No copies of advertisements or solicitations for bids published in at least 2 national newspapers and the website of NCAA as well as any procurement journal.
“No copies of bids submissions registers and duplicate copies of receipts issued to bidders on submission bids.
“No minutes of public bidding for technical and financial proposals, including list of CSOs and professional observers.
“No copies of bids evaluation by the sub-technical committees of the Tenders Board, and copies of minutes of meetings of the Tenders Board approving the winning bidder.”
It is still unclear whether President Goodluck Jonathan, who had set up a 3-man panel to look into the same matter, will act on the report forwarded to him earlier in the month.
News of the N255m cars was greeted with widespread condemnation, with many activists, groups and most Nigerians calling for the immediate sack and probe of the Minister.
It has been over a month after the purchase became public knowledge but Ms. Oduah remains in office.
However, some groups, believed to be sponsored, are alleging that her ordeal was triggered by those against women in high public offices as well as enemies of the Jonathan’s administration.
Source: Daily Post