A video recording showing how a retired Assistant Comptroller of Customs, Mahmud Hassan, revealed how he paid N1 million to officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies to smuggle 661 pump-action rifles packed in a 40-ft container out of Apapa port was yesterday shown before Justice Ayokunle Faji of a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The video recorded on March 27, 2017, between the hours of 2 p. m. and 2.45 p.m., was tendered by an operative of DSS, Jaiye Emmanuel, while testifying in a trial-within- trial ordered by the court to determine the voluntariness or otherwise of the statement made by Hassan to the DSS while he was being investigated for allegedly conspiring with five others to illegally import 661 pump-action rifles into the country last year January.
Speaking in the video, Hassan, while disclosing that he gave out N1 million to facilitate the moving of the container out of the port, however, said he did not part with the money because of the guns.
When Hassan 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 and DSS were given between N20, 000, N25, 000 and N30, 000; the two gates N200, 000; Exit gate N20, 000 and final gate N50, 000”.
Hassan also told his interrogators in the video that he first agreed with the importer of the guns for N3.8 million, when he was told that the consignments were steel doors, but had to raise the cost of clearing the consignment to N4 million when he learned that the consignment includes 661 pump action guns. Further hearing in the matter continues today.
The Federal Government had on November 16, 2017, re-arraigned Hassan, alongside five others on an amended 8-count charge bordering on the alleged offence before the court.
He was re-arraigned alongside Salisu Abdullahi Danjuma, Hassan Trade Nigeria Limited, Oscar Okafor, Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo and Mathew Okoye (at large). In the amended charge marked, FHC/ L/190C/2017, all the defendants were alleged to have conspired with one another to illegally import 661 pump action rifles into Nigeria.
They were equally accused of forging a number of documents including a bill of lading, a Form M and a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report in order to evade payment of Customs duty. In the forged bill of lading, they allegedly filled “steel door” as the content of the container instead of rifles.