The Nigeria Customs Service in Sokoto Thursday night raided a warehouse and impounded 48 vehicles said to be illegally imported into the country.
According to the Command, the raid was led by DSC Yahaya Jamiu.
Briefing newsmen in Sokoto, the Command’s Comptroller said the impounded vehicles, made up of old model Lexus jeeps (2007 model) and Toyota Avensus (2005 model), were seized from one Mustapha Muhammed, popularly known as Mustapha Mafia, a member of Sokoto branch of Car Dealers Association of Nigeria.
Checks at the Customs office in Sokoto and Abuja indicate that the cars were imported into the country in batches between December and March this year.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a source at the Customs office revealed that: “Gamji Motors, owned by one Mukhtar Muhammed, aka Mafia, imported the vehicles without paying the necessary charges to the authority. Intelligence reports led us to the vehicles.
“He provided their keys and we moved them to our offices. He has already come forward to claim it and as it in this kind of situation, we are calculating what is due to the government with necessary penalties for him to pay.
“If he meets all our criteria by paying the dues and the penalties, we will then take a decision on whether to release the vehicles or not. This is what I know about it,” the source said.
Asked to confirm if the vehicles truly belonged to a politically-exposed person as is being rumoured, the officer said he will not comment on speculations.
“We’ve seen papers from the importers and so far, we are acting based on that,” he added.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Car Dealers Association are said to be making frantic efforts to raise the fines to be imposed by the Customs which sources say may exceed thirty million Naira.