Our politicians will never cease to amaze me........
Members of the House of Representatives have resolved to take home their official cars and office equipment at ‘giveaway prices’ as the Sixth Assembly winds down on Thursday (today).
The House bought 380 units Peugeot 407 in 2008 for about N2.32bn or N6.1m each.
Investigations revealed that at an executive session presided over by the outgoing Speaker, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, on Wednesday, lawmakers agreed to pay N850,000 for each car
Among the office equipment are computers, scanners and printers, which were bought between 2008 and 2009. Each of the items is to be sold to the lawmakers at 15 per cent of the original price.
It was gathered that at the session, the leadership reportedly briefed the members that the ‘giveaway prices’ of the cars and the office equipment were in line with “civil service standard.”
Findings indicated that the House was in possession of a circular from the Ministry of Works, which spelt out the modalities for disposing government property in such circumstances.
“There was a circular from the FMW which served as a guide and what we were told was that we were going to pay for each car, based on the value and the procedure adopted, the sum of 850,000 or thereabout”, a member, who attended the meeting, disclosed on Wednesday.
It was learnt that before Wednesday’s meeting where the circular was used as a reference point, lawmakers had offered to pay between N200,000 and N300, 000 for each of the cars.
The management of the National Assembly, which was initially involved in the negotiations, had reportedly offered the vehicles for between N2.5m and N2.7m each.
Regarding the computers and scanners, lawmakers were said to have argued that they needed to take them along because they contained personal information “not useful to their successors.”
The proceeds from the cars and the equipment are to be deducted from the severance package of the lawmakers.
The House spent over N9bn in 2008 to furnish the offices of lawmakers and buying items such as torch at a whopping N9,000 per unit.
The executive session had lasted for about one hour before members reverted to the plenary.
On resumption from the session, Bankole announced that lawmakers had used the meeting to discuss the issue of their official vehicles and the equipment.
“The House met in executive session and passed a resolution on the holding of the vehicles and equipment of the Sixth National Assembly and it was resolved amicably,” he said.
The Chairman of the House Committee on House Services, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, disagreed with reports that the cars and equipment were actually being carted away without lawmakers paying a kobo for them.
Dogara told our correspondent that the price of any item or car taken away would be deducted from the severance package of members.
He noted that the details of the severance package were being worked out, adding that no item would be taken away free of charge.
Dogara said, “There is an inventory on office equipment; we shall carefully study it and ensure that nothing is taken away, which was not approved.
“We are very meticulous about this; anybody who takes away any item will certainly pay for it.
“By the time the severance package is being paid, all the deductions will be made; it is as simple as that.”
Findings showed that the majority of the non-returning 260 members of the House had already removed the computers, scanners and printers from their offices before Wednesday’s meeting.