Appear Before Us or Risk Arrest – Lawmakers Tell Customs Boss, Hameed Ali
The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Insurance has threatened to order the arrest of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), over an alleged N250m insurance fraud.
The alleged fraud was believed to have been committed between 2013 and 2015. According to the Punch, the lawmakers have given Ali up to Wednesday, November 9, to appear before them or risk being arrested.
The committee chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Ogun State, Adekunle Akinlade, had earlier summoned Ali to appear before it last Friday.
But on Friday, the customs boss sent three officers to represent him explaining 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.
The committee refused to entertain appearances other than that of the comptroller general. The panel stated that they would not accept the submissions of officers who would be unable to answer certain questions, or who would claim that they will first report to a higher authority.
Ali had apparently ignored several letters sent to the customs to provide documents in the 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 denying ever participating in any insurance transactions with the Customs.
“Our attention has been drawn to the effect that we participated in the insurance of the Nigerian Customs Service and our firm was paid N250m or N105m. Also, it was alleged that our firm is an unlicensed company, which is not correct.
“We wish to reiterate categorically that we had never participated in the insurance of the NCS and had never been a recipient of such commission,” the letter read in part.
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