By Innocent Anaba and Onozure Dania
LAGOS — Mamudu Hassan, one of the accused persons standing trial over unlawful importation of 661 sophisticated pump action rifles into the country last December, yesterday told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, that he paid a sum of N1 million to officials of the Department of State Security, DSS, and other security agencies to smuggle the guns out of Apapa Ports.
Mamudu, a retired Assistant Comptroller of Customs, stated this in a recorded video during his interrogation by men of the DSS.
The video, recorded on March 27, 2017, between the hours of 2p.m., and 2.45p.m., was tendered by an operative of DSS, Jaiye Emmanuel at the resumed trial-within-trial, as Mamudu gave a breakdown of how the N1 million was shared among DSS and other security agencies.
He said: “I gave N1 million to facilitate the moving of the container out of port, but it is not because of the guns.”
When Mamudu was asked how the N1 million was shared among security agencies, he said:
“The examiners were given N200,000; C.I.O. N100,000; Enforcement N200,000; Police, SSS — between N20, 000, N25, 000, and N30, 000; the two gates — N200,000; Exit gate, N20,000, and final gate N50,000.”
Mamudu also told the investigators in the video that he first agreed with the importer of the guns for N3.8 million, when he was first told that the consignments were steel doors, but raised the cost of clearing the consignment to N4 million, when he was told that the consignment included 661 pump action guns.
The video recording was admitted in evidence, while further hearing continues today.
It will be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service had on June 14, 2017, arraigned two Customs officers, Mamudu Hassan and Salisu Danjuma, alongside Oscar Orkafor, Donatus Achinulo and Matthew Okoye, before Justice Ayotunde Faji on charges of illegal importation of fire arms, conspiracy, forgery and altering of documents, offering of graft to government officials and importation of prohibited goods.
They were arrested January 30, 2017.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye, are contrary to and punishable under Sections 3(6),1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Section 98(1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act.
Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF in charge number FHC/L/190c/17, alleged that all the accused persons conspired with one another to illegally import into Nigeria 661 Pump Action Rifles.
They were also alleged to have forged the documents which include: two Bills of Lading, one reads ‘Shanghai China,’ as Port of Loading, instead of ‘Istanbul.’
One of the counts reads: ‘Steel Doors’, as the contents of the container instead of Customs’ Form M, Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) used in smuggling the said 661 rifles into the country.
In particular, one of the Customs officials, Mamudu Hassan, was alleged to have corruptly offered the sum of N400,000 to one Aliu Musa, the Examination Officer of the Federal Operations Unit of the Customs Service with an intent to prevent one hundred percent search on a container marked PONU 825914/3, which was used in bringing the arms into the country.
He was also alleged to have corruptly given the sum of N1 million to government officials at Apapa Ports through his colleague, Danjuma Abdulahi, in order to prevent the searching of the said container used in bringing in the 661 illegally imported Pump Action rifles.