Hameed Ali: Senate offers Customs boss ‘last chance’ to appear March 16
The Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), on Wednesday failed to appear before the Senate over the controversial ultimatum issued to car owners nationwide to pay duties on their vehicles between March 13 and April 12, 2019, or risk having their cars impounded.
However, in a letter dated March 14, 2017, Ali disclosed that the controversial policy was being reviewed.
Earlier, the Acting Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Mr Joseph Attah, said Wednesday in Abuja that the Management of Customs had directed that the exercise be put on hold and expressed its readiness to engage the Senate Committee on further discussion.
He said that the essence was to bring the Senate on board to understand the importance of the exercise to national security and economy.
“Following the tension generated as a result of misconception and misrepresentation of the NCS planned motor duty payment, the leadership of the National Assembly and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) met with a view to resolving the impasse.
“They both agreed that the proposed motor duty payment, though in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C.45, LFN 2004, should be put on hold.
“While the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise interfaces with the NCS for further discussions.
“Payment of duty on vehicles or any dutiable imported item remains a civic responsibility of every patriotic Nigerian,’’ Attah said.
His failure to appear led the Senate to pass a resolution compelling him to appear on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at 10am.
The implication of the Senate resolution to compel Ali’s attendance on Thursday is that a warrant would be issued, which may be served by the Nigeria Police, or any person authorised by the Senate President, as stipulated in Section 89, sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Ali’s letter to the Senate, citing a recent bereavement as an excuse for his absence was dismissed by the lawmakers.
The CG had initially written a letter to the upper legislative body informing it that he would not be able to honour the summons, as he was due to attend a fortnightly meeting of the NCS management.
The motion which was seconded by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, was ruled upon by the Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“The Senate in accordance with section 89 of the 1999 constitution as amended, resolved to compel the Comptroller General Custos to appear before the Senate on Thursday 16 of March during the plenary at 10 am,’’ Saraki ruled.
Section 89 of the constitution (as amended) gives the National Assembly and its committees the power to investigate and invite any Nigerian over an investigation.
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