The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has revealed that the vehicle contract that has rocked Benue State House of Assembly lately was for N450m, contrary to previous reports of N750m.
According to thenigeriavoice.com, a close source within the antigraft agency who confirmed the figures said each Jeep was valued at N13.5m in the contract letter to Mia3 Nigeria Limited, a company fronted by Hon James Okefe, the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly. He added that the quoted price was less than the market price , putting in doubt their intention to supply the vehicles in the first place.
“At the time the contract was given, Prado Jeeps were sold for N15m, but they wrote N13.5m instead. We don’t think they had plans to execute the contract”
“The company instead of buying the Jeeps, offered each house member N10m. Twenty one members accepted but 9 refused.” he revealed.
The source also said there was no petition before the EFCC against members of the State House of Assembly, contrary to insinuations. He said Hon James Okefe owed one Autodome Ltd, the company that mediated the supply of the 9 Prado Jeeps over N20m and after several unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the money, they asked the EFCC to intervene.
“What we had was a complaint against Hon James Okefe and we did our work as usual. We invited him on two good occasions but he refused to come. We even sent our men to arrest him but he was shielded by some powerful people in Government. This made us very curious as to why he was evading arrest. We did further investigations and uncovered everything and thanks to him (Hon Okefe), we are uncovering more”.
“We are are still investigating but note that there is absolutely no petition per se before us against the House of Assembly. The findings are as a result of our own investigation” the source concluded.
Recall that 21 members of the assembly, obviously those who accepted cash instead of the vehicles, were detained by the EFCC last two weeks and have been reporting weekly to the antigraft agency headquarters in Abuja.
Meanwhile, principal officers of the assembly and other members have remained silent over the issue, saying they would talk at the appropriate time.