A committee on public accounts, anti-corruption and due process in Abia state assembly is investigating the sale of 17 vehicles belonging to Abia’s Secondary Education Management Board for N317,000 as well as student buses parked in the ministry of agriculture.
A hearing by the committee on Friday did not proceed after respondents from the Government House and transport ministry failed to appear.
Chairman of the committee, Jerry Uzosike, read a petition in the house on Friday challenging the sale of the vehicles “without due process of auctioning of government property”.
The board is alleged to have auctioned the vehicles at N10,000 and N25,000 each, depending on the brand, even though none was declared “beyond economic recovery”.
Two more vehicles—a Peugeot 504 and 505—sent for repairs, with repair bills paid, did not return, and are said to be missing, according to the petition.
The house is questioning the pre-auction process and whether due approval was given, according to Chukwu Chijioke, deputy minority lead and member representing Bende constituency.
In the absence of officials from Abia government house and transport ministry to answer questions, the house has adjourned its investigation on January 27.
Ahead of the hearing, the house has mandated the board to produce documentary evidence that:
• the auction was approved by the state governor,
• evidence showing the vehicles were declared “beyond economic recovery” before the auction,
• a national daily containing advert for the auction,
• applications sent in by auctioneers,
• licence and valid certificate showing that the auctioneer is a member of the [Nigeria Association of Auctioneers],
• official sale and evaluation reports of the vehicles and
• a proper inventory of the cars as well as other documents empowering the alleged auction of the vehicles and evidence of payment into the account of the Board of Internal Revenue of the State.
Abia ministry of agriculture faces allegation of “undue and illegal” auctioning of student buses parked on its premises.