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VASWANI: EFCC MAY PROSECUTE EX-CUSTOMS BOSS

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may soon prosecute former Comptroller-General,  Nigeria Customs Service, Ahmed  Bello, and two Comptrollers of Customs, Hanatu Sulaiman and Olufemi Taylor,  in connection with the Vaswani brothers' evasion of import duty to the tune of N3 billion.

Chairman of the Commission, Farida Waziri, disclosed  yesterday  that the Commission has been hard on the case and will not delay in prosecuting those found liable as soon as investigations were  concluded.  Waziri said 'everyone of them found liable will be prosecuted, as anyone who breaches the law will face the music. No one is above the law.'

Waziri said this yesterday when Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bernard-Shaw Nwadialo, visited her at the EFCC headquarters, adding that the investigation had  taken this long, because the case was  a very complicated one.

Responding, Nwadialo said NCS is not going to cover any officer, retired or serving, in the case, describing it as economic sabotage.

'As soon as we found out that there were some problems, we made sure that we gave the EFCC the whole report the way we found it. We did not try to doctor. By the time you do that, you would give the person investigating the case a lot of problems,' he explained.

This is as  the Federal Government is asking the Federal High Court in Lagos, to dismiss a suit filed by Stallion Limited, one of the companies owned by the deported Vaswani brothers.

In 10 different but now consolidated suits filed between 1997 and 1999, which has ISC Services Limited as the first defendant, the Nigerian Customs Service Board, second defendant, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, as third defendant, the Vaswanis are seeking an order of the court directing the first defendant to re-compute the import duties  payable for their rice consignments imported during the pre-shipment inspection era to Nigeria.

They asked the court to dismiss the suit as the reliefs sought by the applicant are unassailable and an attempt to apply judicial process to access Custom duties. After consolidating the suits, Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye adjourned the matter till September 22, 2009 for judgment.