Bulletproof SUV linked to Saraki cost $298,000, not N298m – Senate
The Senate, on Tuesday, said the controversial armoured Range Rover Sports car bought by the National Assembly cost $298,000 and not N298m.
The car had been linked to the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who, on Monday, denied buying the Sports Utility Vehicle.
The importer had, however, said the documents of the car were a fake.
An online news portal, Sahara Reporters, which made the allegation in a report published on March 18, 2017, said the seizure of the Sports Utility Vehicle, allegedly belonging to Saraki, was the reason why the Senate was moving against the Controller General of the NCS, Col. Hammed Ali (retd.).
The medium reported that the car was intercepted and impounded on January 11, 2017, by the service for allegedly having fake documents.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, told journalists on Tuesday that reports on the car had been mischievous.
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to the various false and mischievous reports in the media about the price of the vehicle, which the Senate was said to have bought as part of its convoy but was later abandoned when it got impounded by the Customs over controversy surrounding import duty payment.
“The correct price of the vehicle, when it was imported in 2015, is $298,000, which at the prevailing rate of N165 to a dollar is about N49.17m. The Senate paid N62.5m for the vehicle in November 2015. This is contrary to the mischief by those who decided to turn the $298,000 to N298m as the price of the vehicle. For the avoidance of doubt, the price of that vehicle is N62.5m and not N298m.
“The Senate will appreciate it if all reports relating to the legislative institution, particularly on this vehicle matter, are reported with accuracy and all facts put in proper perspective. We urge journalists to avoid sensationalism. The Senate is a responsible institution and those who believe that when they have issues to explain before it, the next thing to do is to resort to falsehood, blackmail, muck-raking and mud-slinging, should know that they are just overheating the polity and undermining our democratic institution.
“Finally, the Senate wish to reiterate our total commitment to upholding the rule of law and to work for Nigerians, in accordance with our constitution.”
While appearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Monday, the importer, Mr. Tokunbo Akindele, confirmed that the documents of the car were fake. He, however, stated that no letter was received from the National Assembly for the clearing of the car.