By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
A huge scam in vehicles auction involving former commissioners in Niger State and some high level officials in the state’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) has been uncovered where serviceable vehicles in the fleet of government’s vehicles were auctioned at ridiculously give-away prices.
Some commissioners disengaged at the beginning of this year following the dissolution of the state’s cabinet were said to have smartly penned down some choice utility vehicles including Hillux vans and others for auction at the twilight of their tenure.
The ministries involved include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Transport, Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Education among others.
The deal to dispose off the vehicles were done in secrecy as they were auctioned to the commissioners, their family members or friends without going the open public bid and offer method.
Sometimes before May this year, the state government through the respective Ministries had spent huge of money on the vehicles to overhaul them with new fitted spare parts to make them more roadworthy.
Sources within government’s circle say each of the Hillux Vans cost over N27 million but the commissioners bought each of the vehicles at between N150,000 and N350,000 only.
Following the sham and the public outcries, the state government was petitioned over the selective way the vehicles were auctioned and the persons who masterminded the auction and the beneficiaries.
The state government was compelled to raise a committee under the office of the state’s Head of Service.
Sources from within told our correspondent in confidence that the state’s acting Head of Service, Shu’iabu Adamu Suleja had, acting on instruction, empanelled a committee to probe the alleged shoddy auction of the government’s vehicles and the masterminds of the auction and the beneficiaries.
Our sources said some of the commissioners involved in the sharp practices have been busy making vital contacts to have their names shortlisted in the nominees for commissioner’s slot in the state cabinet members.
Since the dissolution of the state executive council, the state governor is yet to announce a new cabinet members for the state.