President of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki , has denied online medium alleging that he spent over N329million to replace vehicles on its official fleet as part of the N4.7billion budgeted by the Senate for car purchase this year.
Saraki however admitted replacing one of his official vehicles claiming that the old official cars he inherited have been malfunctioning.
The online medium ( Premium Times), had reported on Saturday that Saraki has taken delivery of new exotic cars totaling 10, purchased by the National Assembly management for his official use, brushing aside widespread criticisms against such lavish spending at a time of national economic crisis.
According to the medium, the current market survey showed that the vehicles cost N329, 515,625 – more than the budgetary allocations for many government schools.
But Saraki in s statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Yusuph Olaniyonu, it was only his official car inherited from former Senate President, David Mark, that was replaced and no any other one .
Olaniyonu in the statement said it was wrong for Premium Times to classify vehicles provided for security agencies like the police and State Security Service by the National Assembly management for their operations as vehicles bought for the Senate President.
The statement reads: “It is an obvious fact that the official and spare cars that the Senate President inherited and has been using are old and have been malfunctioning. There are instances like the day Dr. Saraki visited Keffi for the marriage of the daughter of Senator Abdullahi Adamu and another day at the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport that the spare vehicle broke down. In both instances, the spare vehicle did not return home with the convoy.
“The same vehicle had malfunctioned at the Presidential Villa and National Mosque on different occasions. It is for this reason that the Senate President approved that instead of providing two vehicles for him as he is entitled, only one should be bought to replace the official vehicle while the old official car should be converted to spare car.
“Also, if the National Assembly Management chose to provide operational vehicles for Security Agencies, should that be presented as if they are personal or official vehicles meant for the use of Dr. Saraki? These are vehicles that cannot be used for other purposes and by other people. The Senate President also have no control over the security vehicles.
“it is also surprising that despite the fact that Premium Times in the same story reported that the order for the vehicle was made in December, it chose to calculate the value of the vehicles based on current exchange rate of the Naira to the dollar. This is obviously a mischief aimed at making the figure look huge and justify the screaming headline”
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