Senate On Vengeance After Customs Seized Saraki’s Car Over Fake Documents
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 Senate President Bukola Saraki’s bulletproof Range Rover Sports was seized.
S.R’s investigators discovered that Nigerian Customs officers in Lagos had on January 11, 2017, impounded the SUV valued at N298m and carries a customs duty of N74m.
The driver presented documents that were found to be fake and indicated that a measly customs duty of N8m was paid. Investigations by SR showed that the documents used by Saraki to clear the car might not belong to the vehicle or was outrightly forged.
In addition, Senator Saraki apparently undervalued the car by more than 50% to enable them to avoid paying proper customs duty. Checks revealed that the vehicle whose paperwork was being used, 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. Curiously, the Customs officials that cleared the car passed it off as a “used” car, although the car was cleared in March 2013, 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 Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, demanding that the agency stops any further efforts to confiscate vehicles found to have evaded payment of duties.
The senators also summoned Ali to appear before the Senate, wearing Customs uniform. Customs sources told SR that the shady practice of importing vehicles meant for personal use with fake documents, was widespread among Nigerian public officials, especially senators.
“Some highly placed Nigerians want to continue evading the payment of proper duties on their imported luxury cars and it denies Nigerians a lot of revenues,” a senior official of the Customs Service claimed.
The Senate has forced Ali to suspend the policy of checking automobiles to ensure compliance with appropriate levels of duty.