More revelations emerged yesterday during the resumed investigation of the House of Representatives into the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)'s alleged purchase of two BMW cars for the minister of aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Finance directed that a waiver of N10.1 million be granted in the importation of the cars.
This is just as the minister of aviation again failed to honour the invitation of the committee. The committee had last week adjourned the hearing to enable Oduah return from Israel and appear before the committee. However, she was absent from the meeting and a correspondence signed by the permanent secretary of the minister of the ministry of aviation, George Ossi and sent to the committee by NCAA stated that she was in transit at the time she was expected to appear yesterday, but would be available at 2.00 pm today.
But the Committee on Aviation chairperson, Hon Nkiruka Onyejiocha, insisted that she appear unfailingly at 10.00 am today, stating that her failure to do so would be assumed an indication that she does not want to attend the hearing. "Tomorrow's date is sacrosanct, please communicate that to her," Onyejiocha said, after explaining that it was in the spirit of fair hearing that the lawmakers had shifted the dates to enable her state her case before the committee.
Mr Manasseh Daniel Jatau, a deputy comptroller of modernisation, research and economic relations in the service, who represented the comptroller general of NCS, Abdullahi Dikko, who is in the
Netherlands on official assignment, said the point of entry of the cars was Tin Can Port in Lagos. He said that no import duty was collected from the owner of the goods, Coscharis Motors, as a one-year duty waiver for 300 cars was granted in the name of the company, for importation of cars for the 18th National Sports Festival, EKO 2012 Games in Lagos.
Jatau said the exemption on the two BMW cars along with 298 others, was at the expense of the Lagos State Government, who would have been the beneficiaries of the payment of N772.132m for the 300 cars and N10.1m for the two BMW cars. Documents presented to the committee by the NCS showed that the Import Duty, VAT, ETLS, CISS and Port Charges Waiver Certificate was issued by the ministry of finance on November 20, 2012, and was signed by the director of revenue, Mrs Rose Ngozi Maranzu, on behalf of the minister of finance.