Senate President, Bukola Saraki has denied ever importing any SUV Range Rover jeep, saying no document shows that he imported any bulletproof Jeep.
Saraki said this, Monday, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics and public petitions on allegation of non payment of duty for the alleged imported jeep.
This is as former Majority Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume told the Senate Committee that he has no evidence to prove that the Senate President owns the N298m SUV seized by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Ndume said he was only relying on what he read in the papers.
Meanwhile, Saraki told the Committee: “I am not an importer and I know nothing about the agent or any clearing company.
“It is important that I clear my name. The documents are there and none of the documents are in my name,” Saraki said.
He stated further: “We must protect this institution, that is why I took time to be here to clear my name and charges against me.
“As the President of the 8th Senate and Senator from Kwara Central, I am proud of the Senate as an institution and its Constitutional role to represent the interests of the Nigerian people.
“Further, I am proud to honour the Senate Rule Book that guides our conduct and activities, which is why today I am presenting myself to the Committee.
“I am here in person because I believe that what you are doing will help strengthen this institution.
“The institution must continue to be strengthened to carry out its mandate, rather than strengthening individuals.
“We must find ways to guard the institution and ourselves against those who wish to tarnish the institution and individual’s reputation because of 5 minutes of fame – they try to bring anyone else down.”
When asked if he had imported the SUV that is the subject of the investigation, the Senate President said, “I did not import any vehicle. I did not ask anybody to import any vehicle on my behalf.”
Speaking on the Customs Import Duty policy, he said, “We raised the issue on the Customs policy based on the interest if Nigerians. But those who want to fight the Senate for raising the issue of retroactive duty, I urge the committee to protect the institution of the Senate so that it is not ridiculed.”
Sen. Ndume had last week urged the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate the alleged importation of bullet proof vehicle by Senate President that was seized by Customs, which he said “was cleared with fake documents.”
When asked on Monday by the Committee if he has any document to back his allegation, he said, “Me, Ali Ndume, has no interest in this case. If I had come with documents that Saraki imported this or that, that means I have interest. I don’t.”
Ndume said he was not the one who raised the allegation, rather he only called the attention of the House on point of order to the publication in the newspapers.