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Senate directs Bank of Agriculture MD to refund N49m for fake purchase of three SUVs

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The Senate Public Accounts Committee meeting on Friday directed the Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, to refund the sum of N49m for his failure to show evidence that the Bank actually purchased two brand new Toyota Prado and Ford Ranger SUVs.

The vehicles were to be used for monitoring of Agriculture Mechanisation programme.

The Senate Panel had summoned the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture following a query on the issue.

The query was raised by the Office of Auditor General in its 2017 report on the missing Jeeps in the Bank of Agriculture in Kaduna State.Advertisements

However, when the Managing Director of the Bank appeared before the Panel to respond to the query of the missing vehicles worth about N49 million, no document was presented to the members of the Committee to indicate that the vehicles were even purchased.

Hassan was only able to present a letter from Ministry of Agriculture, which mandated him to withdraw money from the Agricultural Mechanization Fund to procure the vehicles.

Members of the Committee were shocked as the Managing Director of the Bank was unable to show any concrete evidence that the vehicles are on ground.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, wondered how the MD paid for such vehicles without seeing them in the first place.

The Chairman submitted that those vehicles were never bought by the Bank of Agriculture and sustained the query of the Auditor General against the bank.

Urhoghide also ordered the refund of the amount expended for purchase of the vehicles into the Federation Account.

The query reads: “The Bank expended the sum of N49,026,333.32 (Forty-nine million, twenty-six thousand, three hundred and thirty-three naira, thirty-two kobo), from the Agricultural Mechanization Fund specifically meant for lending to operators, on various unrelated projects. For instance, the sum of N23,122,095.24 (Twenty-three million, one hundred and twenty-two thousand, ninety-five naira, twenty-four kobo) was paid to a motor dealer through payment voucher number 0103576 dated 29th September, 2015 for the purchase of two Toyota Prado Jeeps.

“Similarly, the sum of N25,904,238.08 (Twentyfive million, nine hundred and four thousand, two hundred and thirty-eight naira, eight kobo) was paid to another motor dealer for purchase of Ford Ranger Jeeps vide payment voucher number 0103579 of 29th September, 2015.

“These purchases were purportedly made as project vehicles for the Agric Mechanization programme. The management of the Bank could not justify the choice and the use of these exotic vehicles for supervision. The vehicles could also not be produced for inspection during the periodic check.

“The Managing Director should be compelled to account for all the stated motor vehicles, or refund to Government the sum of N49,026,333.32.”

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