Ali sets up committee to probe illegal importation of military wares

CG Customs Hameed Ali

The Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, has set up a committee to investigate the illegal importation of military wears including camouflage and boots into the country.

Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Joseph Attah, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said the committee was set up with a view to fishing out all those connected to the importation.

According to the statement, “Following seizures of military hardware by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service in recent times, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) has inaugurated a high powered investigation panel under the Chairmanship of ACG Sanusi to conduct a very thorough investigation with a view to fishing out all those connected to the unholy importation,”

It would be recalled that within the last one month, operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ and the Onne Area II Command Port-Harcourt at different times, intercepted a 2/40 feet containers with registration number MRSU 3040288 and MRKU 4909151 found to contain military camouflages and other items on the 27th July 2018 and 16th August 2018 respectively.

“While the first interception was found to contain 11 bales, each containing 400 pairs of new set of military camouflage uniform totaling 4400 sets, the second interception was found to contain 620 sets of completely sewn military camouflage uniform and caps, 10,100 pieces of inner military T-Shirts, 512 pairs of military jungle boots contrary to Schedule 4(13) of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff which falls under Absolute Prohibition and Section 46(b) of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA),”

“Even though preliminary investigations have led to the arrest of five persons including the importer of both consignments, it is imperative that a painstaking investigation is conducted to unravel all those who are remotely connected to the criminal importations with a view to punishing offenders and preventing re-occurrence.

“Consequently, a high powered committee to be chaired by the Zonal Coordinator Zone ‘C’ Headquarters, ACG Sanusi Umar, comprising ACG E, I & I, ACG Bukar Amajam, DC Olomu B.O, AC Okonmah, S Mr. J.O Oloworaran – DIA and Barrister T.K Wudapba – NCS Legal Adviser.” 

The terms of reference of the committee, according to the statement include to investigate through the concerned parties, all alleged breaches of the Customs Import Clearance Procedure as set out in our extant law/statute books; investigate and establish the full facts of the case in relation to the importation of both containers (MRSU 3040288 and MRKU 4909151) and to identify all parties involved in the unholy importations and establish their degree of culpabilities.

The committee is also mandated to profile all importation previously made by the sole importer or his cronies with the intent of discovering if possibly, this has been a trend; to make recommendation to the NCS management on the way forward with the case based on the investigations made and to liaise with other security agencies, should the need arise during the course of the investigation.

Responding on behalf of the Committee members, the Chairman of the panel, ACG Sanusi Umar thanked the Customs Comptroller-General and the members of the management for the confidence repose in them and gave the assurance of a very thorough investigation that will leave no stone unturned.

He said, as Nigerians and officers of the NCS, whose personal safeties and professional integrities can be negatively affected by these criminal importations, they will stop at nothing to bring back quality report.