WAR!!! Customs Boss, Hammed Ali, Goes On Bloody Revenge Mission, Set To Deal With Saraki, The Entire Senate This Week

By Post Nigeria March 19, 2017 07:36

WAR!!! Customs Boss, Hammed Ali, Goes On Bloody Revenge Mission, Set To Deal With Saraki, The Entire Senate This Week

The week ahead promises plenty of drama and suspense, as speculations emerged on Saturday, that the seizure of a bullet-proof Range Rover vehicle, allegedly belonging to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, may have triggered the on-going face-off between the Nigerian Senate, and Nigeria Customs Service boss, Hammed Ali.

Recall, that the Senate had on Thursday, after a failed attempt, insisted that Ali must appear before it next week Wednesday, dressed in his official Customs uniform, to answer questions relating to the department’s operations, especially as it concerns collection of customs duties.

The Customs boss, expressing reservations over the directive, insisted that nothing in the Rules demands he dresses in the official uniform of the Comptroller General of Customs. He told media hounds early in the week, that he was contemplating seeking legal redress on the matter.

On Saturday however, an online news platform, Sahara Reporters, quoting unnamed sources within Customs, claimed that the Senate’s directive to Hammed Ali, was tainted more by blackmail and vindictiveness, than by due process. It alleged that the Nigerian Senate was on a vengeance mission, because the Nigeria Customs Service had seized Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s a bullet-proof Range Rover over fake documents.
Its publication ran thus:

“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.

“At the interception of the car, its driver claimed that the vehicle belonged to the Senate President, 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.

“Our sources disclosed that 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 reportedly fake documents provided by the driver, indicated that a measly customs duty of N8 million was paid on the car. Customs officials, said that apart from the fact the customs duty was extremely low, they also determined that the presented document itself was fake. They consequently seized the vehicle.

“Later the same day, January 17, 2017, the Senate sent a letter signed by one Architect O.A. Ojo, acting as the Secretary of Procurement, Estate, and Works of the National Assembly, requesting the release of the vehicle, which he claimed belonged to the convoy of the “Senate”. In its response, the Nigerian Customs sent a letter signed by its Othman, A.S. Comptroller, Import and Export, the letter dated January 24, 2017, again requested for the end user certificate, as well as evidence of proper clearance before the vehicle could be released. Neither Mr. Saraki nor the National Assembly provided the required documents.”

Though no official reaction has come from the Senate on the fresh twist to its face-off with the Customs boss, there are concerns that the leaked details on the bullet-proof vehicle, may indicate a hardening of positions.

While it is still not clear if Ali will show up at the Senate, on Wednesday, dressed in his Customs uniform, it is held that the story of the seized vehicle will create sufficient distractions for the Senate, and perhaps, redirect the entire debate over the appropriateness of the directive issued to the Customs boss.

It is however, hoped that the week ahead will provide answers to the speculations currently making the rounds.