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NILDS faults audit report on ‘N375.8m vehicle purchase’

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
22 December 2021   |   4:03 am
National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) has faulted claims by Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) over an alleged N375.8 million vehicle purchase in 2016.

Ladi Hamalai. PHOTO: NAN

National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) has faulted claims by Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) over an alleged N375.8 million vehicle purchase in 2016.

The AGF had, in a 2016 audit report, alleged that NILDS inflated the price of 11 vehicles by N36 million. It also alleged that NILDS, under the leadership of Prof. Ladi Hamalai, illegally paid N67 million into another account.

The query reads in part: “At the National Institute for Legislative Studies, it was observed that 11 (eleven) motor vehicles were purchased at a contract sum of N375,867,000.00 (Three hundred and seventy-five million, eight hundred and sixty-seven thousand naira) in April 2016. Examination of the Capital Account Cashbook revealed that an additional sum of N36,610,000.00 (Thirty-six million, six hundred and ten thousand naira) was paid in favour of the contractor in September 2016 under the same contract, without approval.

“The Management of the Institute should justify the overpayment, which is in excess of the contract sum, otherwise the sum of N36,610,000.00 (Thirty-six million, six hundred and ten thousand naira) overpaid should be recovered from the contractor and recovery particulars forwarded for verification.”

But NILDS, in its response made available by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts which, investigated the queries, said the alleged N36 million difference in vehicles purchase arose from price variation due to change in the model of the vehicle supplied and was done with full approval of appropriate authorities and in line with laid down processes and procedures.

On alleged N67 million paid to payees not on vouchers, it said the infraction has been sorted out with the contractors who supplied the vehicles.

A source at the institute explained: “NILDS had in 2018 responded by giving all the information to the Public Accounts Committee and the matter was cleared. The contention was that the model of vehicle procured for a Presiding Officer was changed due to security issue. The revised model was tendered and due process followed by National Assembly Tenders Board and a variation was awarded and paid for according to due processes and extant regulations.

“The Capital Account of NILDS was managed by the National Assembly management (up till June 2019), which also handled all procurement issues.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, has directed the clerk of the Committee to invite NILDS management to physically appear and defend the queries.