One of the authorized dealers of Toyota Motors in Nigeria, Elizade Motors, 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 the FCT Minister’s office.
Newsmen gathered that the contract was awarded since July 2017, but Elizade failed to deliver after several months of promises to hand over the buses to the FCT Administration, despite the fact that the Administration has made payments in full.
The contractual documents obtained by our correspondent shows that it cost the FCT Administration “the sum of N4, 399, 762.50 to refurbish the Model-T Coaster bus, while the sum of N3, 200, 557.50 was expended to refurbish the Model-T Hiace bus totaling N7, 600, 320.00 for the two vehicles.”
Our correspondent gathered that the immediate 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.
In response 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 and signed by the company’s branch manager, Mr. Ayorinde Ojo, reads in part:
“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”.
Our correspondent 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 along the Airport road, as the vehicle broke down on the way to Lugbe satellite town.
Our correspondent learnt that the vehicle has failed the test drive in two different occasions despite assurances from the company that the vehicle is in sound and perfect road condition, even as he questioned the integrity and huge amount expended on the refurbishment of the vehicle.
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.
“It is our duty to satisfy our customers either cooperate or individual. I am aware of all that has transpired in the repair of the bus, but I must stress that vehicle is like human parts. We have 2,500 components in every vehicle and for vehicle to work efficiently, all the components must be in perfect condition. We are trying to put the bus in perfect condition before delivery,” he said.