Reps Committee Reveals How OORBDA Sold N2bn Gov’t Assets for N13.6m
The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation has queried the management of the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) for auctioning government property valued at over N2 billion for N13.62 million.
According to The PUNCH, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts summoned Hussein Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, and Musa Ibrahim, the ministry’s permanent secretary, to explain their roles in the auction.
The committee had on Friday queried Olufemi Odumosu, the Managing Director of OORBDA, on the same development. At the investigative hearing, Odumosu justified the auction, saying the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were sold off by the auctioneers appointed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
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Odumosu told the committee that the auction exercise was transparent and was carried out under the ministry’s supervision. He stated the PPE auctioned dated back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, whereas the documents presented to the lawmakers showed that the oldest of the property were bought in 1980, while the newest of them was bought in 2013.
While being grilled by the lawmakers, Odumosu sought to withdraw the documents and replace them with another, a request the lawmakers declined.
Your (committee’s) observation which is, however, noted was premised on the fact that at the time of disposal, the authority could not hand on all schedules of historical cost relating to these unserviceable items,” he was quoted to have said.
“This primarily was because they (unserviceable items) were procured dating back to the late 1970s to early 1980s at the commencement of the operations of the authority spanning over a 35 to 40-year period.
“Meanwhile, most officers directly involved in the purchase had either died or retired or both. However, frantic efforts made (in the past which has been resumed) at recalling relevant living retirees to assist in archival retrieval of records relating to the purchase of the items had yielded significant results.”
Oluwole Oke, the chairman of the committee, criticised the auction while also questioning the mode of selecting the auctioneers and the usurpation of the function of OORBDA’s board by the ministry.
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Oke pointed out that the provisions of the Public Procurement Act were not followed in the sale of the items, resulting in a possible loss of revenue for the government.
Consequently, the committee asked the Minister of Water Resources and the Permanent Secretary to appear on June 9, 2022, to explain their roles in the auction.
The Deputy Chairman of the committee, Abdullahi Abdulkadir, also asked the authority to submit the valuation report carried out on the items before they were sold. He said the letter from the ministry to the auctioneers stated clearly that the items must not be sold below government’s valuation.
The assets auctioned include: a CAT payload truck bought for N70,000 in 1982 and sold for N40,000, and other earth-moving equipment like bulldozers, graders and escalators, which were sold for between N350,000 and N550,000 as unserviceable items.
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On the auction list is also a Toyota Camry 2.5L bought in 2013 for N8.15 million, with a book value of N1.22 million, which would have cost the agency N1.2 million to repair, was sold for N22,500.
Trimmers bought in 2004 and lawn mowers bought in 2005 were sold for N2000 and N6500 respectively. The ministry also disposed three Peugeot 504 station wagons bought for N2.9 million each for N26,400 each, while a Mitsubishi Canter lorry which cost the authority N8.55 million was sold for N80,000, and a DAF (1000) lorry bought for N5 million auctioned for N90,000.
The ministry also sold a Toyota Hilux pick-up van bought for N3.75 million, which would have cost N187,500 to repair, for the same N187,500