DSS petitions Buhari over Customs’ $25,000 ship levy
The Department of State Security Service DSS, has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent introduction of the $25, 000 Temporary Import Permit TIP levy on tanker vessels by the Nigeria Customs Service, saying this may lead to a hike in the pump price of petroleum products.
Premium Times had reported earlier in the week that there is a ‘cold war’ between the
Director General of the DSS, Lawal Daura and the Comptroller General of Customs, Col, Hameed Ali, who are both close allies of the President.
The report, in which the Customs boss described the DG of the DSS as unprofessional and illegal in some of his actions tends to confirm insinuations that there is division among leaders of major agencies in the administration of President Buhari.
It was gathered that the DG of the DSS had written a letter to President Buhari dated September 8, 2016 in which he accused Customs under the headship of Col. Ali of imposing a $25,000 TIP levy on every tanker vessel that berths to discharge petroleum products in any seaport or related facility in the country.
According to Daura, the said levy, was illegal as it was neither provided for on the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency PPRA, template, nor receipted, and therefore alleged that it could increase the landing cost of fuel petrol for instance by as much as 56 kobo per litre.
Daura had also told the President in the letter that the introduction of $25,000 TIP levy was sequel to the arrest and detention of a vessel, MT Histria Ivory at Apapa by operatives of the service.
Investigations showed that the petition of the DSS-boss to the President was on the heels of complaints by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria MOMAN over the introduction of the new levy.
Sources disclosed that President Buhari forwarded the same letter to the CG of Customs about one week after he received and read it and also demanded a summary report of his ‘considered view’ on the matter.
The Customs-boss, it was further gathered had told the President that the DSS under the headship Daura appeared to be more interested in smear campaign and personal vendetta than thorough investigation and anti-corruption efforts, which is a cardinal policy of the current government.
“The vessel, MT Histria Ivory, was truly detained but that was after it was sighted discharging cargo at Apapa Jetty. The detention was to ascertain whether it had TIP or liable for payment of duty”, the Customs CG had also said.
It was further gathered that the CG Customs had written the major markers copies of which were sent to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu; announcing the introduction of the new levy, which prompted the letter of complaint to the DG of DSS by the marketers.
The Customs had also alleged in his response that it was based on the letter of complaint by the major marketers that the DSS-boss petitioned the Presidency without investigating the matter, alleging that the DSS copied all the allegations of the major marketers almost verbatim without making any effort to hear from the service in order to identify those behind the offence for possible punitive measures.
“This is in tandem with the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government, which makes one conclude that it seems that the DSS is more interested in smear campaign than doing what is right. But I make bold to say that the issuance of TIP does not involve payment of money and that the service has stopped conducting cash transactions since 2001”, the CG said emphatically.
While assuring the President that there is no iota of truth in the memo written to him by the DSS, the Customs –boss called for a full-scale investigation into the matter with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice if any.