Mr. Yakubu Tsala, former chairman, Governing Board of The Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, Borno State, bought a Prado Jeep worth N18 million at the rate of N750,000, according to the agency.
According to an information on its website, the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) is responsible for conducting research into the improvement of millet and wheat.
In 2017, the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation had queried the institute over alleged disappearance of two SUVs.
Upon investigation, it said the Prado Jeeps were procured in 2013 and 2014 but were sold three years after.
The report is being considered by the Senate Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo).
The audit query reads, “Management of the Institute could not account for 2 Nos. Toyota Prado Jeeps which were purchased in 2013 & 2014 with registration No. 45KOIFG for one Jeep and none for the other.
“No reason was given for not registering the second Prado Jeep. In addition, a Toyota Hiace bus with registration No. 45KO3FG could not be accounted for during audit.
“This is a violation of Financial Regulation 2128 which states that “Every public officer is personally and pecuniary responsible for government property under his control or in his custody.
“Inability of the management of the Institute to account for government property under their custody suggests abuse and mismanagement, as government property may have been diverted to private use.
“The Executive Director is required to account for the vehicles. The issue was communicated to the Executive Director through my Audit Inspection Report Ref. No. EIAD/WTR 16/CORP/4 dated 21st December 2017 but he failed to respond.”
The institute in a written response said, “The vehicle (Prado Jeep) was purchased on 21st March, 2014 at the Cost of N18.7 million and the former Executive Director, Dr.Oluwasina Olabanji, sought the approval of ARCN (Agricultural Research Council Of Nigeria) for boarding the vehicle to the former chairman Governing Board , Mr. Yakubu Tsala at the cost of N750,000 only.”
The second Prado Jeep, according to the institute, was purchased on 18th September, 2013 at the cost of N12.4 million and request for approval to board the vehicle was written to ARCN dated on June 7th , 2017.”
The Senate panel therefore ordered the institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Alhassan Bibinu to appear before it along with the former Executive Director, who gave order for selling of the two Prado Jeeps.