Reps threaten arrest warrant on customs boss over N250m allegedly paid to insurance firm

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According to reports, the House of Representatives has again threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), over refusal to explain why his agency allegedly paid N250 million to Fortis Insurance Brokers Limited.

hamid-ali-customs

The latest threat came after the management of Fortis denied ever insuring the NCS or receiving, as commission, the aforementioned amount.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Lawrence Dafiode, in a letter dated November 1, 2016, also informed the lawmakers that the firm was licensed in 2010, as against the notion held in certain quarters that it was unlicensed.

Members of the Adekunle Akinlade-led House ad-hoc Committee on Insurance, however, maintained that with the denial, it behoves the customs helmsman to clear the air on the issue, to enable the committee ascertain the truth.

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The committee is probing allegations of wrongdoing between insurance firms and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) of government in the years 2013 to 2015.

Meanwhile, a Federal Roads Fund could soon become reality, if a proposed bill before the House of Representatives sails through.

The ‘Act to Establish a Fund Known as the Federal Road Fund and Other Matters’ will create a repository for revenues accruing from road user related charges and other sources, for financing the development, rehabilitation, maintenance and other activities related to the provision of national roads. The bill also aims to establish a national board, responsible for management of the fund.

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The Tobi Okechukwu-led House Committee on Works will commence a two-day public hearing tomorrow on the proposed legislation at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

Akinlade who disclosed that the committee was in custody of submission by an insurance firm that the NCS actually paid out the amount to Fortis, as commission, said the customs boss must appear before the body to answer questions over the committal of 57 other infractions relating to over-invoicing, and payment of hundreds of millions of naira to non-existent insurance firms during the period under review.

Akinlade gave the directive during the committee session last Friday after turning back the Customs Assistant Comptroller General (ACG), (Head Resource Development), Austin Warikoru, who, alongside other officials of NCS, appeared before the lawmakers to respond to the matter.

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Ali, according to Akinlade, is to appear before the committee on Monday, November 14. He added that the committee would no longer condone excuses from the NCS.

Vowing he would leave no stones unturned at unearthing underhand deals between MDAs and insurance firms during the period under review, Akinlade said he had directed the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to furnish the committee with vital information on all brokerage firms, alongside their bank accounts.

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