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National Assembly owes contractors billions since 2017 for cars, office equipment

Contractors have accused the National Assembly management under the immediate past clerk, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, of refusing to pay for vehicles and equipment supplied to the House of Representatives in 2017.

The contractors, including 13 companies that supplied Peugeot 508 Special edition for the use of the members of the House and 13 Hilux vans, are threatening legal action if their bills are not settled within a week.

Nine of the companies supplied 132 Peugeot vehicles, two supplied 18 units of Toyota Hilux van while two others supplied office equipment. They have now given the National Assembly seven days to either pay them or face legal action.

A letter of demand from the legal firm, Otaru Otaru & Co, which has already been received by the office of the clerk to the National Assembly, states that the nine companies supplied 132 units of Peugeot 508, 2017 Executive Edition at N25.5 million each, totalling N3.4 billion; two of them supplied 18 units of Toyota Hilux (4ws Dc pss 2.7 litrs, Shell Spec, 5 Speed, 2017 Model, Japan) at the cost of N31.2 million each, totalling N561.6 million while two others supplied office equipment at the total cost of N211.2 million.

The documents seen shows that Three Brothers Concept Nigeria Limited supplied 50 Peugeot vehicles at N25.5 million each and was expecting to be paid N1.28 billion. The lawyers said the company has so far only received N400 million, leaving a balance of over N875 million.

Apart from the outstanding balance, Three Brothers Concept is also asking the National Assembly to pay “ the sum of One Hundred Million Naira only being general damages for breach of contract. 21% prejudgment interest on the unpaid sum of N875,750,000” as well as a “10% post judgment interest n the unpaid sum.”

Another company, Bunkari Motors Nigeria Limited, which said it supplied 42 units of Peugeot 508 at the same price as Three Brothers, was expecting a total payment of N1.07 billion but said it only received N15 million only, leaving a balance of N1.06 billion.
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Like Three Brothers, Bunkari Motors is also making the same demand for payment of damages as well as interests.

Another company, Aira Integrated Resources Limited, supplied 10 units of Peugeot vehicles at the same price and was expecting payment of N255.2 million. However, unlike the other two companies, the documents revealed that Aira received N9.05 million each in three instalments on June 14, September 5 and November 30, 2018.

The firm also got N4.5 million twice, on February 1 and April 17, 2019, totalling N36.5 million and “leaving a balance of N218,599,524.93.”

Six other companies supplied five units of Peugeot vehicles each at the same contract price and they were expecting to be paid N127.6 million each. The companies are Kaneen-G ventures Limited, Zipson Ugos Chi Limited, Mohammed Najib and Company Limited, Dombee Nigeria Limited, Futuhati Investment Limited and D C Okika Nigeria Limited.

Out of the six companies, three received some payments while the other three have received nothing since 2017. The documents showed that Kaneen-G got N15 million, Zipson got N70 million and Mohammed Najib received N24 million. All the six companies are also asking the National Assembly to pay them N50 million as damages as well as 21 and 10 per cent pre and post-judgment interest on the total contract sum.

One of the contractors, Vish Integrated Service Limited, said it supplied six units of Toyota Hilux vehicles 2017 edition at N31.2 million each and was expecting to be paid a total of N187.2 million out of which N40 million was paid on November 17, 2017, N50 million on February 7, 2018 and N10million on April 30, 2018, leaving a balance of N87.2 million.

Havilah Motors Ltd which supplied 12 units of Toyota Hilux at a unit price of N31.2 million totalling N374.4 million out of which only N62 million was paid leaving the balance of N312.4 million.

Two firms; C L Ukas Investment and Power Zone Limited said they supplied office equipment. Ukas supplied office equipment to the sum of N96.4 million while Power zone supplied office equipment for N114.9 million. Both have not received any payment since 2017.

“Why we are threatening legal action”

Some of the contractors who spoke to us said they decided to take legal action because they suspect that the National Assembly was out to scam them.

In 2019, the same management applied for bail out from the federal government to clear their liabilities, the application was approved and N30 billion was released but the clerk and his management team diverted the funds by initiating new jobs to enable him divert the money” said Okika Moses, one of the contractors.

Another contractor, Mohammed Najib, said “In this 9th Assembly, precisely in 2019, the House of Representatives and the clerk of the National Assembly awarded another batch of 400 utility vehicles for the members, this time, Toyota Camry at N50 million per unit, notwithstanding the numbers already procured for the leadership and the principal officers amounting to about N4 billion. This was done while ignoring the liabilities of the 8th Assembly of about more than N15 billion.

“And many of the members cannot deny knowledge of these liabilities because some of them were returned in this 9th Assembly. Note that the total capital for the House of Representatives is N300 million monthly, which cannot even pay the outstanding liabilities but they still went ahead to incur another liability of N24 billion on Nigerians. There are a lot of scams happening in the National Assembly, particularly with the management,” he said.

Many members of the current House of Representatives, including Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase were members of the 8th Assembly that benefitted from the vehicles and office equipment.

National Assembly reacts

When contacted, the Director of Information of the National Assembly management, Rawlings Agada, said he does not have the fact on the matter.

He also said it is strictly a matter that concerns the House services committee and not the National Assembly management.

“It is not the clerk who decides if the House of Reps will buy vehicles or not, they decide what they want to buy for themselves and it goes through the official process.

“If it is purchase of vehicles for management staff, I can find out the details. But on this, contact the House spokesperson or House Services. I will advise that you talk to the House Services because it is not within my purview at all.

“The management cannot go into the Senate account for instance to take money except there is an authorisation from their leadership,” he said.

The spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, did not respond to enquiries by this newspaper on the issue. He did not return calls and a message sent to his phone.

Also, the chairman of the House Services committee in the 8th Assembly, Nasiru Baballe, did not respond to enquiries. Premium times

 

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Shawn Solomon Elliot

Ukpiebo Solomon Elliot is a talented and well motivated Professional Associate Writer, Proofreader and Political scientist. He is a graduate of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Benin and also holds a Diploma in Desktop Publishing and Computer Science.

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