Another twist: Presidency granted duty waiver for bulletproof cars- Customs

FROM the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) came a revelation Wednesday that the two BMW 760 series armoured cars were shipped into the country under the pretext of using them for the 18th Lagos national sports festival tagged Eco-2012.  These vehicles have become a source of controversy as the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, is implicated in their alleged illegal purchase. 

  Besides, the Senate Committee on Aviation said yesterday that FAAN purchased another 202 vehicles as well as two Lexus Limousine cars and two Toyota Prados.
  While testifying before members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Abdullahi Dikko, disclosed that based on the directive of the Presidency, his organisation granted an import duty waiver for the vehicles, alongside 298 other units to ensure their use for the sports festival.
  A Deputy Comptroller of the NCS, Mr. Manasseh Jatau, who represented Dikko, said that the duty waiver of N10.1 million approval via the Ministry of Finance had an end user certificate No.0000001672 in the name of Lagos State government dated 6/6/2013 and issued by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).   
   Jatau asserted that the end user certificate for the armoured cars in the name of Coscharis Motors Limited remained tenable as at the time the cars were imported into the country.
  The Customs chief said though the NCS was not under obligation to ascertain the final destination of the armoured cars, the cars which were eventually traced to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency (NCAA) were not transferable to any other outfit other than the Lagos State government based on the provision of the law.
  Referring the lawmakers to several documents at his disposal, including the import exemption certificate Ref. BO/R.10260/s.3/VIIIB/73 of November 20, 2012 issued by the Ministry of Finance to the Lagos State government through Messrs Coscharis Motor Limited for the sports festival, he noted: “The Nigeria Customs Service is not a magician; we wouldn’t have known that after the clearance of the armoured cars at the port, the beneficiary decided to do something else with them afterwards.” 

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