Finance minister and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has denied ever granting waivers for the importation of the controversial N255m armoured cars allegedly procured for the minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah.
The minister described as “total falsehood that is bereft of foundation” the claim by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) that the ministry of finance directed that a waiver of N10.1m be granted on the importation of the cars.
Okonjo-Iweala in a statement, Okonjo-Iweala explained that her ministry only granted a waiver to the Lagos State government for its National Sports Festival, stressing that at no time did she grant any exemption for the importation of armoured cars.
The statement read: “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.
“The waiver granted to the Lagos State Government for the event did not include the purchase of armoured vehicles”, it further stated.