More trouble for Ali as reps order probe of customs

As if the row with the senate is not enough, the house of representatives has ordered the probe of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under the leadership of Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the service.

At plenary on Thursday, the lower chamber of the national assembly mandated its committee on customs and excise to investigate the failure of the agency to auction confiscated goods.

This followed the adoption of a motion on the ‘Need to Investigate the Failure of the Nigerian Customs Service to Auction Confiscated Goods’.

Prestige Ossy (Abia-PDP), sponsor of the motion, said ban on the auction of goods seized by the NCS had resulted to the forfeiture of such goods to the federal government.

Ossy expressed worry that since the ban took effect in 2015, “it had resulted to the proliferation of seized goods at various formations of the Nigerian customs service”.

He said goods seized in large numbers from different parts of the country included vehicles, consumables, clothing materials and containers of assorted household goods.

The lawmaker said instead of auctioning the seized items worth billions of naira, the service left them to degrade.

He said “most of these goods, especially the vehicles with duty paid value (DPV) worth over N6 billion, are rapidly depreciating.

“The customs service will eventually spend huge amount of money in disposing them when it ought to have generated huge revenue for the government by auctioning them before they wither away.”

Ossy said the service had announced the establishment of an auction sale website in 2015, but said two years on, the website had not materialised.

“The failure to auction goods in its custody had denied the federal government over N1 trillion which ought to accrue to it from the auctioning of those goods,’’ he said.

After the adoption of the motion, the house passed it to the committee on customs and excise to investigate and report back in eight weeks.

The senate has asked Ali to appear before it in uniform.

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Evabeta Tega

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