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EXPOSED: How Nigerian Ministers & Governors Imported Exotic Vehicles

The Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, led by its Chairman, Hope Uzodinma, discovered over 1,500 exotic vehicles parked at Volkswagen yard on the Mile 2-Badagry expressway, when it led some officials to the VON company for an oversight assignment.

Some of the vehicles are said to belong to influential Nigerians, including a serving governor, who has been identified as the owner of 15 sports utility vehicles, intercepted and impounded by officers of the Nigerian Customs Service, and also a minister.
The senators, who were there with security operatives and officials of the NCS, went on the assignment when they discovered that the place looked deserted with disused equipment in its assembly plant.
The officials of the company initially refused the law makers access to the store for inspection, but were forced to do so when the lawmakers threatened to bring down the door.
It was also gathered that the senators became curious when they found out there were port tags on the vehicles which indicates that they were imported.
Investigations revealed  that the vehicles carried Federal Government’s official number plates in an attempt to evade questions from the customs officials.
The senator had alleged in an interview it granted in Abuja with journalists, that the Automobile company was not assembling vehicles in Nigeria as it claimed, but rather imported already assembled vehicles in different brands.
The Managing Director of VON Automobiles, Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, however, refuted the Senate’s claim that the company was sabotaging the country’s economy.
Aromolaran said, “The Chairman of the Senate Committee, in company with about 30 people, comprising senators, officers of Nigeria Customs Service, journalists and police officers, descended on the VON premises on October 28, 2016, without prior notification.
“They were given free access to our plants and warehouses, and found nothing other than what you would expect to see in an auto assembly plant – an inventory of vehicles assembled, awaiting delivery.
“We also confirmed that applicable duties were paid at the ports when the components were imported into the country.
He said, “All applicable duties and levies on Volkswagen vehicles stored at VON have been paid to the NCS (SKD vehicle kits and fully built units). This can be verified by the service.”
The senator however stated that the company was sabotaging the nation’s economy, and also evading the payment of the required duty on the SUV vehicles.
The Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said the affected vehicles had remained under NCS custody because duty was not paid on them.
Adeniyi stated, “There are no separate laws for top government officials or highly-placed Nigerians. The laws are the same for everybody and the laws specify that all imported vehicles attract duty. If duty was not paid, the vehicles cannot be released.”

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