Car Purchase Scandal Brews Against Tambuwal

Car Purchase Scandal Brews Against Tambuwal

Nigerian lawmakers passed a second vote of confidence on Mr. Tambuwal amid allegations of corruption. A multibillion naira car scandal involving 400 Toyota Camrys purchased for House of Representatives members, is stirring concerns against Speaker Aminu Tambuwal.

Car Purchase Scandal Brews Against Tambuwal

On Wednesday, Mr. Tambuwal’s loyalists, a majority in the House, smacked a reported impeachment move by passing a vote of confidence on him. A loose network of members are said to be working on raising evidences of a scandal in the purchase against Mr. Tambuwal, fuelling media reports of a likely impeachment. The aggrieved lawmakers have questioned the purchases made early 2012 in a purportedly shady contract, seeking names of the contractors and the costs. As the matter surfaced on Wednesday, Mr. Tambuwal dismissed the reports as "distraction", as the lawmakers rallied support. Mr. Tambuwal said the alleged plot, the second since becoming speaker, was coming at a time "members had worked relentlessly to build the integrity of the House as an institution."

"I read some of the publication and felt terribly bad most because I know 360 of us had thus far worked tirelessly to ensure that the house continues to represent the interest of Nigerian people," he said. The matter had been raised by Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi (Enugu state), the Chairman, House Committee on Works, prompting a motion for the confidence vote moved by Bello Osagie (Edo State) and supported by Nkeruka Onyejeocha (Abia state), the Chairman House committee on Aviation.

Mr. Osagie called the allegations of graft against Mr. Tambuwal "the most profound evidence of distraction" for the house, and said the vote of confidence was "a way of putting an end to any further debate". But the allegations of a shady car purchase in the house, have been around for months. The House took delivery of 400 2012 Toyota Camry sedans few months after senators were given Toyota Prado jeeps. The House has maintained the contract was handled by the National Assembly management in an attempt to steer the leadership from the contract troubles that plagued past regimes. But it was indicated that while the deal was duly handled officially by the management of the National Assembly as required by procurement regulations, fronts of key lawmakers received the contracts secretly without an open bidding. To make the required 400 cars, the juicy deal was split in bulks of 40s and 50s for those fronts and the cars were imported directly from manufacturers to scale the cost, taking months for all shipping to be made. Even with the decision for direct purchases from manufacturers, the official approval for the cars stood at N12 million per unit, above an average N10 million open market cost in Abuja and Lagos.

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