SaharaReporters has learned that the Nigerian Senate’s current war against the leadership of the Nigerian Customs Service has its roots in the fact that Customs officials seized a bulletproof Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) owned by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Our investigators discovered 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.” Customs sources told our correspondent that the value of the car was N298 million, which meant that customs duty of N74 million should have been paid on the car.
Investigations by SaharaReporters showed that the documents used by Mr. Saraki and the National Assembly to clear the car impounded by the Nigerian Customs might not belong to the vehicle or was outrightly forged
In addition, Senator Saraki and the National Assembly apparently undervalued the car by more than 50% to enable them to avoid paying proper customs duty. When our investigators checked on the website of Range Rover, they discovered that the vehicle whose paperwork was being used to drive the impounded car from Lagos to Abuja was manufactured in the UK in 2014. The price tag on that car was $142,000, but the importer gave the value as $64,516. The exchange rate at the time of car importation was N155 to $1. Curiously, the Customs officials that cleared the car passed it off as a “used” car, although the car was cleared in March 2103 customs papers clearly stated it was a 2014 car, which clearly meant it was a brand new car that should have attracted higher duty.
Shortly after the seizure of the car, the Nigerian Senate mounted a vigorous attack on the Nigerian Customs Service, demanding that the agency stops any further efforts to confiscate vehicles found to have evaded payment of duties. The senators also summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to appear before the Senate. In the letter of invitation, the senators specified that Mr. Ali, a retired Army Colonel, must wear the official Customs uniform when he appeared before them. Mr. Ali has so far refused to heed the order to wear the Customs uniform.
Source: Sahara Reporters.