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Reps grill ICPC boss over purchase of used vehicles

The House of Representatives, yesterday, interrogated the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, over alleged purchase of used vehicles by the commission. The interrogation took place when the House Committee engaged the chairman and his management team on the implementation of the 2019 budget with respect to capital allocation.

The House Committee on Public Procurement, led by Hon. Ahmed Nasir Ali Ahmad (APC, Kano), queried why the commission decided to procure used vehicles instead of brand new ones provided for in the budget. Responding to the query, the Director of Procurement who refused to disclose his name, stated that the agency had to take advantage of customs’ auction to procure some of the vehicles.

When asked how many vehicles were provided for in the 2019 budget, another ICPC official said the auction was for N16 million, which was below the budgeted sum of N17 million, adding that the vehicles are, however, in good working condition. Asked if the vehicles were brand new ones and if the budget provided for used vehicles instead of brand new ones, the commission said: “It provided for operational vehicles.” The committee chairman told the commission to make more details available to members so as to ease the process of understanding and intervention. Meanwhile, the ICPC chairman, Owasanoye, has advised members of the National Assembly to “make peace with the media” so as to end negative media reports against them, saying bad “news sells”.

Asked to explain why his interventions since assuming office have focused mostly on members of the National Assembly and the status of constituency projects, he said the commission handles virtually anything that relates to project implementation both from the executive and the legislature, “but the media chose to publish what it likes, and it appears they have issues with the National Assembly.”

He said: “When we tour projects for assessment and verification, apart from ICPC officials, civil society people are there, the NBA and other professional bodies go on these tours, including the media. But the media chose to focus on those ones that have to do with the National Assembly.

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