The Nigeria Customs Service has told the House Committee on Aviation that no duty was paid on the controversial armoured cars because Coscharis Motor obtained a duty exemption certificate from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
According to the Customs the car dealer used the waiver granted the its for the 18th National Sports Festival, hosted by Lagos State, to import the controversial N255m bullet-proof cars.
Lagos had hosted the games, otherwise known as ‘EKO 2012′, in November last year.
According to the Customs, the government lost N10.1m in revenue due to the waiver, which covered 300 vehicles, including the two BMW cars.
Deputy Comptroller-General (Modernisation and Economic Relations), Mr. Manasa Jatau, who testified before the panel, disclosed that the Ministry of Finance granted the waiver after Coscharis wrote that it was to import 300 assorted vehicles for the EKO games.
He added that the “end beneficiaries” of the cars, including the two bullet-proof cars, was the Lagos State Government.
However, the waiver was later used as cover to import the bullet-proof cars to evade the payment of import duty, adding that there was a third bullet-proof car.
He said the office of the National Security Adviser issued a security clearance for the cars.
Asked whether a waiver, granted for a specific purpose, could be transferred to a different end user, he replied, “To the best of my knowledge, end user certificate is not transferable.
He added, “N10.1m was the duty payable on the 300 vehicles, but no duty was paid because there was an import exemption certificate issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance. The waiver was for a period of one year.
“The waiver showed there were 300 vehicles for the sports festival, hosted from November to December, 2012. Only three of the vehicles were bullet-proof and the NSA gave security certificates for their clearance.”
Coscharis Motors was represented at the hearing by its Chairman, Mr. Cosmos Maduka, and the Managing Director, Mr. Josiah Samuel.