A stolen Toyota Sport Utility Vehicle found in the possession of a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) who claimed he purchased the vehicle through a public auction has sparked a row.
According to the Nation, the car’s original owner faulted the public auction of his vehicle to the ex-police chief, saying the information provided for its auction did not add up.
It was around midnight a decade ago when some dare-devil robbers b+ke into the home of Eye Ayo Samuel in Erusu Akoko, Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
“The incident occurred on January 24, 2014. I was sleeping in my house when the two armed men br+ke into my home through the window of the kitchen and thr£at£ned to sh@ot me and my family.
The intruders made away with five phones including Tecno, Samsung, Blackberry and Nokia brands.
Not satisfied with their loot, they also took away my N3 million white 2006 model Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) marked EKY 850 AJ with chassis number: JTE DW 21A060004010.
If you look at the auction paper, you will see that there was no registered vehicle number or number plate and no car chassis number displayed or written on the Toyota Highlander auctioned.
On the contrary, my car was a hybrid Toyota Highlander and it has a registered.
I was shocked when FRSC called me on my mobile phone repeatedly that my car was discovered among the vehicles whose documents were submitted for number plates, and I was f¥rious,” he said.
Vehicle’s registration number missing from auction notice
The approval for the public auction of the vehicle was issued on August 25, 2015, by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Boniface Onyeabo, in a memo to the Assistant Director of Police Pay Office, Obalende Lagos. The correspondence mentioned one Godwin Okafor as the registered police auctioneer approved to handle the public sale of the vehicles including the Toyota Highlander SUV.
On the other hand, when contacted, AIG Akingbola, a retired police chief explained that he had been invited by the Commissioner of Police in Ondo State to clarify his complicity in the controversial vehicle a few months ago.
He said: “I think the man (Samuel) is just out to destroy himself and not my name. I am a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG).
In 2014, I was the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of FEDSARS, Abuja. I was incidentally moved to Adeniji Adele annex of FEDSARS for six months during which there was an auction sale of recovered vehicles
I was not there when the vehicle was auctioned, but the person to whom the vehicle was sold via auction approached me, saying that the car was a hybrid Toyota Highlander and that the battery was expensive. Hence, he said that he was willing to sell it to me. I was not in charge of FEDSARS at Adeniji Adele Annex then. The person in charge of the office was CP Boniface Onyeabo.
So, I bought the car for N250,000 from the person who got it through a police auction, and I found that it cost a whopping $3,000 to get a new battery for a hybrid Toyota car.
I was later introduced to a technician who could fix the battery and brakes of the vehicle. I also did a conversion of the vehicle from a hybrid to a normal car.
Early this year, I gave it to someone to sell it for me and the person sold it to someone who took it to Abuja.
I was later told that the vehicle had an issue when he took it to FRSC and I even gave my number to the new owner to call me at the FRSC office so that I could speak with officials there to resolve the problem.
Suddenly, I was called by the Commissioner of Police, stating that there was a petition against me that a stolen vehicle was found in my possession. So, I visited the CP to explain my side of the storv.
I know that there are laws governing the sale of vehicles through public auction. I then gave the documents of the auction sale to the Ondo CP, who said that an investigation of the matter would be done.