The Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has denied granting waiver for the clearing of two armoured cars purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah’s use.
The deputy comptroller of Modernization, Research and Economic Relations in the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Manasseh Daniel Jatau, had while appearing before members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation investigating the purchase of N255m BMW armoured cars purportedly for Ms Oduah, stated that that a waiver of N10.1 million was granted in the importation of the cars on the orders of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
But in a statement issued by her Senior Special Assistant, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, in Abuja, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala explained that she only granted waiver for the clearing of cars to be used for 2012 National Sports Festival, EKO 2012, hosted by the Lagos State Government.
According to her, it was the Lagos State Government that applied for waivers for the importation of the vehicles; excluding armored cars, for the festival, as contained in a letter dated June 23, 2012.
The statement read in full:
“Recent media reports which claim that the Federal Ministry of Finance granted a waiver to Coscharis Motors Nigeria Ltd for the purchase of armoured cars are totally false and without foundation.
“Rather, on June 23, 2012, the Lagos State Government applied for Waiver of Destination Inspection Charges and Duty Exemptions for Coscharis Motors Nigeria Ltd, the official Automobile Partner for the National Sports Festival (“EKO 2012”), to purchase 300 vehicles on its behalf for the event.
“Since the Lagos State Government met the laid-down criteria, the waiver was granted.
“It is also important to clarify that the waiver granted to the Lagos State Government for the event did not include the purchase of armoured vehicles”.