Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Senate finally admits buying bullet-proof Range Rover for Saraki at N62m



Following a scandal that recently rocked Senate President Bukola Saraki, the senate on Tuesday finally admitted that it bought a bullet-proof Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) for the office of its President as had been reported in the media.

The Senate said indeed it procured the said vehicle but not at the N298 million price that was being reported.

Instead, it said only N62.5 million was spent on the said vehicle and argued that at the time of purchase, the exchange rate was N165 to a dollar.

In a statement by Senate spokesman,  Abdullahi Sabi, the country’s upper legislative chamber condemned “the mischievous intent of the reports.

Senator Sabi added: “The correct price of the vehicle, when it was imported in 2015, was $298,000 which, at the prevailing rate of N165 to a dollar, was about N49, 170, 000.  Senate paid N62.5 million for the vehicle in November 2015. This is contrary to the mischief by those who decided to turn the  $298,000 to N298 million as the price of the vehicle.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the price of that vehicle was N62.5 million and not N298 million.

“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.

“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, Senate wishes to reiterate our total commitment to upholding the rule of law and to work for Nigerians, in accordance with our constitution.”

On Monday, the Senate President appeared before the Ethics and Privileges Committee, chaired by Samuel Anyanwu, probing the controversy surrounding seizure of the vehicle by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). He stressed that he did not import any vehicle and does not own the vehicle that was purportedly seized.

Media reports had called the attention of the Senate after customs impounded an SUV allegedly procured by the President of the Senate.

Reports said that Customs refused to bulge in spite of the intervention of the Senate to release the SUV.

According to media reports, fake documents were used to evade the payment of appropriate Customs duties on the Range Rover imported for the use of the Senate President.
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