The tussle between the Senate and the Custom’s CG, Hameed Ali, may not be nearing an end soon as the invitation to appear before the Senate’s Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition committee was shunned.
According to report from Vanguard, Senator Samuel Anyawu, PDP Imo State, who is also the Chairman of the Senate’s Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, disclosed tha they waited for the custom boss or his proxy, but neither came.
He further disclosed that a new date for the investigative hearing may not be allowed since he (Ali) was notified of the invitation earlier.
The Chairman had earlier revealed on Monday that the committee will be sitting yesterday.
In other news, the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, Senator Hope Ugodinma, kicked out the allegation yesterday, that he is no how involved in the 30 containers of rice seized.
While reacting to accusations online that he is pressurizing the Custom CG for the release of the 30 containers of rice smuggled and imported as yeast, Ugodinma revealed that, contrary to the reports, the letter sent to the Nigeria Customs Service was based on a petition by Masters Energy Commodities Trading Limited to the committee that he chaired.
Uzodinma, who noted that the committee decided to play its part, said:
“Sometime around last November, the committee received a petition from Masters Masters Energy Commodities Trading Limited Company.
“Alleging that 30 containers of rice imported by them was seized by Nigerian Customs, even when they paid the necessary duties and necessary assessments were done by Nigerian Customs, the company said it needed our intervention.
“Of course, you know as representatives of the people, that is why we are here, what I did was, the committee met and then sent out the petition to Customs Service asking them to react to the petition.
“The Customs reacted through a letter sent to the Committee on November 25, 2016, confirming that the rice was imported and that the rice was seized because it was not declared according to the right classification. When I got that letter, to my surprise, the tone of the response was suggesting a kind of innuendo as if our letter was for them to release the rice.”
“No. What we wrote was very clear, you can see the copy of the letter, it said make comment, react to this comment because every Nigerian citizen is entitled to fair hearing. And when we got their reply, we looked at the response from the Nigerian customs Service, signed by the comptroller General.
“We immediately resolved and did a letter thanking him for his quick response to our enquiry and also reminding him that the sole intention in the matter was that justice should be done in line with their extant rules. The decision neither suggested that I have any link or any relationship with the importer nor did we suggest to the Nigerian Customs to wave any procedure or any internal mechanism by them as to the treatment of issues like this,” he said.