The Nigeria Customs Service has summoned the National Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Auctioneers, Alhaji Musa Kurra, to appear before a panel regarding a publication in The punch on alleged illegal sales of vehicles as scrap by the service.
The NCS, in an invitation to Kurra dated October 24, 2022, ordered him to appear before the panel on November 8 (today) with documents to support his allegations against the agency.
The punch reported the sale of hundreds of vehicles seized from smugglers by Customs.
The vehicles, which are of different makes and models, were sold as scrap at prices below their market prices through what the NCS called direct auction allocation.
Documents obtained by our correspondent indicated that 338 vehicles were sold for N3,380 million by the Committee on Direct Disposal of Convicted Scrap Vehicles and Other Items, Customs Headquarters, Abuja.
Several companies have been allocated hundreds of vehicles via a letter signed by the chairman of the direct scrap disposal committee, controller AD Sanusi.
Kurra, who called the practice illegal, had confirmed that members of the Nigerian Auctioneers Association were benefiting from the scheme.
Angered by the report, Customs, in an invitation letter to Kurra signed by the Comptroller of Investigations, MC Ugbagu, on behalf of the Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, ordered the Chairman of NAA to appear before the panel.
The letter with reference number, NCS/INV/609//022/ABJ/HQ was titled, ‘Re: News feature on Nigeria Customs Service direct auction vente of public property and other items published in The punch Newspaper of September 20, 2022. Allegations of irregularities and corruption in the process by a Musa Kurra who is an impostor claiming to be the National Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Auctioneers.
It read: “The subject above is a reference. You are invited to come for an interview with the Comptroller of Investigations at Nigeria Customs Headquarters on November 8 at 11 a.m. sharp.
“You are expected to come with all relevant documents to support your claim. Above for your information and compliance, please.
But reacting to developments on Monday, Kurra rejected the summons, saying the agency could not compel him to appear before its panel, insisting he owed them no explanation.
The auctioneer challenged the NCS to respond to allegations or refute allotment letters regarding the direct auctioning of vehicles issued to beneficiaries.
He said, “Why should I honor the invitation? Who gave them this power? I accuse them of doing something wrong and now they invite me to confront them? Are they judge in their own case? Where is it done? Am I a walker?
“I said I had documents to that effect and you (The PUNCH) ran the story. I think they’re pranksters. Let them face the substance of what I’m accusing them of; that the documents emanate from it or not.
“Let them refuse the documents, whether they belong to them or not; whether or not they were acting on behalf of the Comptroller General.