The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday failed to honour the invitation of the senate committee on ethics and privileges which is presently probing the alleged use of fake documents to clear a N298 million vehicle said to have been purchased for the senate president’s use.
Senate president, Senate Opens Probe Of N298m SUV Car Purchase alongside popular car dealer, Mr Lanre Shittu and an official of oil company, Oando Group, Mr Tokunbo Akindele.
Both Shittu and Akindele testified before the ethics committee that the Customs issued the fake clearance papers now being complained about, while Saraki completely denied knowledge of the transaction.
The ethics committee thereafter summoned the Customs leadership to appear before it on Tuesday to state its side of the story.
Speaking with newsmen Tuesday evening, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East), said members of the committee waited for the Customs boss or his representative to no avail.
According to him, a new date for the continuation of the investigative hearing may not be considered since the Customs boss was earlier invited for the hearing.
Meanwhile, Senator Hope Uzodinma who heads the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, has denied proprietary links to the 30 containers of rice seized by the NCS.
Copies of a letter written by the senator which went viral,on social media appeared to suggest that he was mounting pressures on the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (retd) to release 30 containers of smuggled rice imported as yeast.
Senator Uzodinma however said the letter sent to the Nigeria Customs Service was based on a petition by Masters Energy Commodities Trading Limited to his committee.
Uzodinma said: “Sometime around last November, the committee received a petition from Masters Energy Commodities Trading Limited Company alleging that 30 containers of rice imported by them was seized by Nigerian Customs, even when they paid the necessary duties and necessary assessments were done by Nigerian Customs, the company said it needed our intervention.
“Of course, you know as representatives of the people, that is why we are here, what I did was, the committee met and then sent out the letter to Customs Service asking them to react to the petition.”
Vanguard reports further that the chairman of the senate committee on Customs said:
“The Customs reacted through a letter sent to the Committee on November 25, 2016, confirming that the rice was imported and that the rice was seized because it was not declared according to the right classification. When I got that letter, to my surprise, the tone of the response was suggesting a kind of innuendo as if our letter was for them to release the rice