There are indications that the cost of the bullet proof BMW vehicles, purchased for Stella Oduah, Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, may have been inflated, PREMIUM TIMES checks have revealed.
Efforts to get Coscharis Motors, the supplier of the controversial vehicles to disclose the actual cost of a BMW Li 766 were not successful.
Phone calls and e-mails to the company were not responded.
PREMIUM TIMES also contacted BMW to verify the cost of an armoured BMW Li 766 car.
The company said it had forwarded the request to the relevant department for assessment and had not responded as at press time.
But checks at various online auto dealers gave a glimpse into the cost of the vehicle.
At Freedom Global Cars, a world class supplier in the global sales of both luxury and armoured vehicles, a Sapphire black 2012 BMW 760Li High Security car costs £265,000 – including VAT – (about N64m).
The purchase of the cars had brought the aviation ministry into public scrutiny and condemnation, with civil society groups and some aviation stakeholders calling for the minister’s resignation.
J.D Nkemakolam, the official of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, who was involved in the purchase of the cars refused to respond to PREMIUM TIMES enquiries.
“I cannot talk to you on an information that is already in the public domain. I am a public servant,” said Mr. Nkemakolam, a former Acting Director General of the NCAA.
Fan Ndubuoke, NCAA’s Spokesperson, also refused to comment on the new vehicles whose purchase has generated a lot of controversy.
“I can only tell you that cars were bought by the NCAA for directors and general managers. I wouldn’t know who got what. And it was well publicised,” Mr. Ndubuoke said.
“I don’t know how many cars that were bought. I don’t know anything about the cost of any car. Such questions are outside the NCAA, they should be directed to the minister. I can’t speak for the minister,” Mr. Ndubuoke added.
The New York based online newspaper, Sahara Reporters had exposed how Mrs. Oduah allegedly compelled the NCAA, an agency under her supervision, in a presumed case of corruption, conflict of interest, and abuse of office, to procure the cars for her with public funds.
The newspaper supported its report with documents of the procurement, a revelation aviation authorities initially attempted to dismiss as “rumours” but were later forced to admit under intense pressure.
Reports showed how the transaction for the purchase of the two BMW vehicles began last June, and the request for delivery of and payment for the two vehicles fast-tracked between August 13 and 15.
The transaction involved the NCAA, First Bank of Nigeria, and Coscharis Motors Limited.
In a letter dated August 13, 2013, Mr. Nkemakolam sent a letter to the Managing Director of Coscharis Motors asking the company to deliver two BMW 760 armoured vehicles to the agency based on a pro-forma invoice dated June 25, 2013 at the cost of N127, 575,000 ($796,846.21) each.
The total amount for the two black BMW Li HSS vehicles, with chassis numbers WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044 respectively, was N255,150,000, or $1,593,687.31.
The NCAA’s letter further directed Coscharis Motors to deliver the vehicles with sales invoices, delivery notes, and attestation documents.