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Customs Deny Passing 200 Car Bribe to Lawmakers

By on November 20, 2012

President GEJ and Customs Boss, Mohammed Dikko

The Nigerian Customs Service has strongly refuted the allegation of buying 200 cars for members of the National Assembly to pass the amended Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).

They denied the allegation saying, it was false propaganda. The statement was issued by its National Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller Wale Adeniyi.

Adeniyi said the claims by the Managing Director of Maritime Media Limited, Elder Asu Beks, that Customs acquired the cars to influence the lawmakers to free the Service from the control of the Presidency and the Federal Ministry of Finance were not true.

He said, “It is good and easy for us to address the issue raised by Mr Asu Beks. First, he raised the allegation that Customs bribed the distinguished Senators with 200 cars to pass the CEMA Bill. Well, we find this allegation curious and unfounded and these are allegations that Mr Asu Beks cannot back up with any evidence.

“This is not a substantive issue, but, for me as a concerned Nigerian and as a Customs officer, the onus of proof lies with Mr. Asu Beks to tell Nigerians how Customs actually bribed the distinguished Senators with 200 vehicles.

“Beks needs to come out with more facts. What type of vehicles are they? What model? Where were the vehicles bought? Were they imported into Nigeria? He needs to let Nigerians know that this is the evidence he has.

“He cannot just come and make this type of allegation and we allow him to go like that. It is also in the interest of distinguished members of the House, because it is a credibility issue, and throwing this kind of allegation wildly at them like this is not good for our democracy.”

Adeniyi said the move to pass the new Customs bill is good, since the existing CEMA is old and archaic.

“The exercise is to bring the law in tandem with the challenges of modern Customs administration. It is obvious that people like Beks, who are condemning this bill, have not read it. It is so obvious. What this bill sought to repeal is the old 1958 Act.

“There is a new Act, which was enacted in 2004, which is the Customs Excise Consolidated Act 2004 CAP C49. All the powers of Mr President in terms of granting waivers and concession are intact in Section 12 of this particular Act. Section 12 talks, particularly, about the powers to impose, to vary or remove any import duty, and to amend the schedule of the tariff.”

“These are powers that are vested in Mr President and these powers are intact. So, Mr Beks and the like have not read the bill. CAP 49 of 2004 is not among the provisions that the new bill seeks to repeal.

“All the other powers of the Minister; the power to appoint the Board and members of the Board; to chair the Board of the Nigeria Customs Service and all the powers of the Board are all enshrined in the new bill. They are there and the new bill is not taking away any power that was vested in the under the former Act,” Adeniyi stated.

He concluded that customs might take legal actions against Beks.