By Abdullahi Muhammad
Elizade motors, one of the authorised dealers of Toyota Motors in Nigeria, has allegedly defrauded the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to the tune of over N7.6 million in the pretext of refurbishing one 32-seater Model T Coaster bus and 18-seater Model T Hiace bus attached to the media unit of FCT Minister’s office.
Our correspondent gathered the contract was awarded since July 2017, yet Elizade had failed to deliver after several months of promises to handover the buses to the FCT Administration, even though the Administration had made payments.
The contractual documents obtained by our correspondent showed that it cost the Administration the sum of N4, 399, 762.50 to refurbish the Model-T Coaster bus, while the sum of N3, 200, 557.50 was used to refurbish the Model-T Hiace bus, totalling N7, 600, 320.00 for the two vehicles.
It was also gathered that the then Permanent Secretary of FCT Administration, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, had made express payments to the company before commencement of work since July, 2017.
However, trouble started on September 21, 2017, after several months of failed promises by the company, the Information Department of the FCT Administration threatened Elizade Motors to refund the money paid and the Coaster bus in its custody or face the anti-corruption agency.
Responding to the threat letter titled: “Re: Request for the Return of FCTA Press Corps Coaster Bus and Immediate Refund of Payment,” dated October 5, 2017, the company’s branch manager, Mr. Ayorinde Ojo, wrote: “We write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 21st September, 2017 on the above subject and want to thank you for taking the time to express your displeasure over the delay in the completion of the repair of your Toyota Coaster AZ 62GWA.
“Kindly accept our sincere apology for the inconvenience the absence of the vehicle has caused and our willingness to retail you as a satisfied customer as customer satisfaction is our top priority.
“However, we hope to deliver the Coaster bus on or before 27th October, 2017 due to the spraying job to be done on the vehicle while the Hiace bus should be ready for delivery within two weeks of reception due to the job demand.”
Blueprint further learnt that when the company delivered the vehicle to FCT Administration for road test, the bus which has been certified by Elizade Motors to be in perfect condition could not withstand 15 minutes test drive on the Airport road, as it broke down on the way to Lugbe.
When contacted, the Abuja branch manager of Elizade Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ayorinde Ojo, told our correspondent that the delay was due to scarcity of spare parts in the branch office, stressing that the company “does not source for spare parts in the local markets.”