A document retrieved from a driver who was driving an armored Range Rover car said to be worth N298million, has categorically clarified that the car belongs to Senate President Olubukola Saraki.
The car was seized by officers of the Nigerian Customs, according to regulations, kicking off a frenzied war led by Saraki against Hameed Ali, the Director General of Customs, with the Upper House demanding that Mr. Ali appear in uniform before it.
The car, with chassis number “SALGV3TF3EA190243, was seized on January 11, 2017. With a value of N298 million, our Customs sources said the duty on the car ought to be N74 million.
But speaking through spokesperson Yusuf Olaniyonu earlier today, Mr. Saraki tried to distance himself from the scandal.[story_link align="left"]52086[/story_link]
He described as “outright falsehood” the allegation raised earlier by Senator Ali Ndume linking Mr. Saraki with the importation of the vehicle. That forced the Senate, in Saraki’s absence, to refer the matter to its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for investigation. It is unclear what would have happened had Mr. Saraki been present and wielding the gavel.
It is noteworthy that the Senate President was absent because of his trial by the Code of Conduct Bureau on a slew of assets declaration charges.
Sources told SaharaReporters that a document in the car, signed by a member of the staff of the Senate Liaison Office in Lagos, clearly shows that the vehicle was being driven to Abuja for the Senate President.
SaharaReporters further learned that following the seizure of the vehicle by Customs officials, it was discovered that its paperwork had been forged to avoid paying duty on the car. In addition, the vehicle had no end-user certificate, which is required of all armored vehicles imported into Nigeria.
See below Saraki's denial:
Saraki Has Nothing to Do With Importation of Vehicle, Says Aide
Special Adviser to Senate President on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu has stated that the allegation raised today by Senator Ali Ndume linking Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki to the importation of vehicle lacks basis as it was outright falsehood.
In a press statement, Olaniyonu said from the facts and documents about the seized vehicle, it is obvious that the Senate President has nothing to do with the importation of any vehicle.
"A supplier was engaged by the Senate to supply a vehicle. While transferring the vehicle between Lagos and Abuja, it was impounded by the Customs. We believe that is an issue between the supplier and the Customs because the Senate has not taken delivery. So, why is somebody trying to drag in the name of Saraki into the issue.
"The documents on the vehicle are there for the general public to view and make their conclusions. Now, that the matter has been referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, all the facts will be out", Olaniyonu stated.
Special Adviser (Media and Publicity)