The Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation has queried the management of the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority for reportedly selling off government plant, property and equipment (PPE) valued at over N2 billion for N13.618 million.
Consequently, the Public Accounts Committee, PAC, of the House of Representatives chaired by Rep. Busayo Oluwole Oke, drilled the Managing Director of the Agency, Olufemi Odumosu last Friday to unravel the mystery behind the deal.
However, Odumosu justified his action and told the Committee that PPE were disposed off through public actions carried at by the Auctioneers appointed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, who also approved the auction.
Records of the PPE auctioned revealed that an 800 KVA Perkins Diesel generating set brought by the agency in 2006 for an undisclosed amount was sold for N550,000 in 2018 after being branded unserviceable.
Also, a CAT Payloader bought for N70,000 in 1982 was sold for N40,000 naira, while other earth moving equipments like bulldozers, graders and escalators were sold for between N350,000 and N550,000 as unserviceable items.
Also a Toyota Camry 2.5L bought in 2013 for N8.150 million, with a book value of N1.222 million which would have cost the agency N1.2 million to repair was sold for N22,500; while trimmers bought in 2004 and lawn mowers bought in 2005 were sold for N2000 and N6500 respectively.
Three Peugeot 504 station wagon bought for N2.9 million each and were still in serviceable condition at the time of sale were sold for N26,400 each, while a Mitsubishi canter lorry which cost the agency N8.55 million was sold as scrap for N80,000, while a DAF (1000) Lorry bought for N5 million was sold for N90,000.
Also, a Toyota Hilux bought for N3.75 million and would have cost the agency N187,500 to repair was sold for the same N187,500.
While further defending action, Odumosu, who appeared, said that the auction was transparently carried out under the supervision of the Ministry of Water Resources.
Although Odumosu said the PPE auctions date back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, a close study of the documents presented to the Committee revealed that the oldest of the property were bought in 1980, while the newest of them was bought in 2013.
At a stage during the hearing, Odumosu sought to withdraw the documents and replace them with another, but his request was declined by the Committee.
He said in his submission dated 16th May, 2022 that “your observation which is however noted was premised on the fact that at the time of disposal, the authority could not hands on all schedule of historical cost relating to these unserviceable items.
“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, through 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”.
In a swift reaction Odumosu’s submission, chairman of the House Committee, Oke frowned at the development, while also questioning the mode of selecting the auctioneers and the usurpation of the function of the agency’s board by the Ministry.
Oke insisted that the provisions of the Public Procurement Act was not followed in the sake of the items resulting in a possible loss of revenue to the government.
The Committee, however, asked the Minister of Water Resources and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry to appear before the Committee on the 9th of June to explain their role in the auction.
Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Abdullahi Abdulkadir asked the agency to submit to the House the valuation report carried out on the items before they were sold, adding that the letter from the Ministry to the Auctioneers stated clearly that the items must not be sold below government valuation.