Bulletproof SUV linked to Saraki cost $298,000, not N298m – Senate

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The Senate on Tuesday said the controversial armoured Range Rover Sports car bought by the National Assembly cost $298,000 and not N298m.

The car had been linked to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who, on Monday, denied buying the Sports Utility Vehicle.

The importer had, however, said the documents of the car were fake.

An online news portal, SaharaReporters, which made the allegation in a report published on March 18, 2017, said the seizure of the SUV, allegedly belonging to Saraki, was the reason the Senate was moving against the Comptroller General of the NCS, Col. Hammed Ali (retd.).

The medium reported that the car was intercepted and impounded on January 11, 2017, by the service for allegedly having fake documents.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sabi Abdullahi, told journalists on Tuesday that reports on the car had been mischievous.

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He said, “Our attention has been drawn to the various false and mischievous reports in the media about the price of the vehicle, which the Senate was said to have bought as part of its convoy but was later abandoned when it got impounded by the Customs over controversy surrounding import duty payment.

“The correct price of the vehicle, when it was imported in 2015, is $298,000, which at the prevailing rate of N165 to a dollar is about N49.17m. The Senate paid N62.5m for the vehicle in November 2015. This is contrary to the mischief by those who decided to turn the  $298,000 to N298m as the price of the vehicle. For the avoidance of doubt, the price of that vehicle is N62.5m and not N298m.

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“The Senate will appreciate it if all reports relating to the legislative institution, particularly on this vehicle matter, are reported with accuracy and all facts put in proper perspective. We urge journalists to avoid sensationalism. The Senate is a responsible institution and those who believe that when they have issues to explain before it,  the next thing to do is to resort to falsehood, blackmail, muckraking and mud-slinging, should know that they are just overheating the polity and undermining our democratic institution.

“Finally, the Senate wishes to reiterate our total commitment to upholding the rule of law and to work for Nigerians, in accordance with our constitution.”

While appearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Monday, the importer, Mr. Tokunbo Akindele, confirmed that the documents of the car were fake.

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He, however, stated that no letter was received from the National Assembly for the clearing of the car.

He said, “There was no document received from the National Assembly for the clearing of the car. All the documents were received on receiving the car. We have the clearing documents, which we have found were fake, and these were what were given to us. We found this out in 2017, but there is no mention to the National Assembly even on the fake documents.

“No documents were submitted by the National Assembly. And there is no correlation with Senator Bukola Saraki in terms of clearing this car and the fake documents.”

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