N250m Deal: Reps Threatens To Arrest Customs Boss

The House of Reps Ad hoc Committee on Insurance has threatened to issue a warrant for the arrest of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), over an alleged N250m insurance fraud committed by the NCS.

The infraction reportedly took place between 2013 and 2015.

Details of the committee’s proceedings, indicated that Ali was given up till Wednesday, November 9, to appear before the committee or risks being arrested.

The committee, which is chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Ogun State, Mr. Adekunle Akinlade, had earlier summoned the CG to appear before it on Friday last week over the allegation.

But on Friday, the CG delegated three of his subordinates to attend the committee’s session on the grounds that he had “other important national assignments to attend.”

The committee turned down the appearance of the Deputy Comptroller-General (Human Resources Development), Mr. Austin Warikoru; DCG, (Welfare), Umoru Dinatu; and DCG Rufai Alawo whom Ali sent to represent him.

“By the rules of proceedings of the House, the committee will not entertain appearances other than that of the heads of the agencies.

“The committee will not accept the submissions of officers who will tell you they cannot answer certain questions or that they will first report to a higher authority,” the panel stated.

Lawmakers were also miffed that Ali had not responded to any of the letters the committee sent to him, directing the NCS to submit documents in defence of the insurance transaction in which an “unlicensed broker was paid N250m.”

The records of proceedings quoted Akinlade as saying:
“Let it be on record that we wrote Customs CG; we published adverts in newspapers and also made physical visits to submit letters to Customs.

“Until the CG creates time, after he is done with the other national assignments he considers to be more important than a parliamentary proceeding, we will hold the agency accountable.

“We have powers to make sure that he (Ali) appears, even if it means that he will be carried to the National Assembly, he must appear.”

The committee insisted on having Ali’s presence after the brokerage firm that allegedly handled the deal for the agency, FORTIS Insurance Brokers Limited, disowned the NCS over the deal.

Fortis wrote the committee to deny ever participating in any insurance transactions by the Customs.
All these happened before Ali assumed office.