The alleged cause of ongoing war between the Nigerian Senate and the Customs service boss, Comptroller-General Hameed Ali has been reportedly revealed.
The ongoing battle is allegedly linked to a vendetta by the Senate after officials of the Nigeria Customs service reportedly seized a bulletproof Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) owned by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Sahara Reporters reports that Nigerian Customs officers in Lagos had on January 11, 2017 intercepted and impounded a Range Rover SUV which carried documents that claimed its chassis number was “SALGV3TF3EA190243.”
The value of the car was N298 million, and the customs duty of N74 million should have been paid on the car.
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The driver of the SUV reportedly claimed that the vehicle belonged to the Senate President Bukola Saraki and presented a letter from the National Assembly liaison office in Lagos, indicating that the driver of the luxury vehicle was authorized to drive the Senate President’s official Range Rover bulletproof car.
A source of Sahara Reporters said when asked to show evidence of duty payment and an end-user certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser—a document required for bulletproof vehicles—the driver presented documents that were found to be fake.
The allegedly fake documents provided by the driver reportedly indicated that N8 million custom fee was paid instead of the N74 million legally required.
Customs officials said that apart from the fact the customs duty was extremely low, they also determined that the presented document itself was fake and so the vehicle was seized.
Investigations reportedly done by Sahara Reporters showed that the documents used by Saraki and the National Assembly to clear the car impounded by the Nigerian Customs did not belong to the vehicle.
Also, there were allegations by the investigators that Senator Saraki and the National Assembly apparently undervalued the car by more than 50% to enable them to avoid paying proper customs duty.
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Recall that the war between the Senate and the Customs boss, Hameed Ali started after the Senate on March 7, blocked the Nigeria Customs Service from going ahead with the proposed plan to collect duties on all vehicles in the country, including old ones.
The Senate resolved that the Customs should drop the move until its Comptroller-General Hameed Ali has appeared before the lawmakers to explain the idea behind the collection of the old duties.
Ali's refusal to appear before the Senate in his uniform has since been a serious war between the Senate and the comptroller-general.