Court Remands Lebanese For Evading N49m Customs Duties | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Court Remands Lebanese For Evading N49m Customs Duties

Posted: May 21, 2015 at 9:54 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tunde Opeseitan –   Lagos


A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered a Lebanese, Fares Chawich, to be remanded in prison for allegedly evading customs duties to the tune of about N49 million.

Trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu ordered Chawich to be remanded after he was arraigned on a five-count charge by the Nigerian Customs Service.

Chawich, according to the judge, is to remain in prison pending the time he is able to meet the bail conditions imposed on him by the court.

The foreigner was specifically arraigned on offences bordering on allegedly attempt to evade customs duty to the tune of N49, 116, 004.00.

The accused, a resident of 27A, Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos and one Chief Emmanuel Ekong, of 17, Sobo Arobiodu, GRA, Ikeja, (now at large), were alleged to have on May 18, 2015, broke the seal of Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) placed on different vehicles in an attempt to evade payment of customs duties on them.

Some of the vehicles mentioned in the charge are; Brabus  G800 Jeep, 2013 model, with chassis number 212718; Aybach 625 2009 Model, chassis number 002513; McLaren SLR 2009 Model, chassis number 001960; Aston Martin 2009 Model, chassis number 815026; and Ferrari 458, 2013 Model, chassis number 195200.

The prosecutor, Julius Ajakaye, informed the court that the alleged offences committed by the Lebanese were contrary to and punishable under Section 145 (5) of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

The accused pleaded not guilty after the charges were read to him.

Counsel to the accused, Chris Emeh, urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms.

However, Ajakaye did not oppose the bail application of the accused, but urged the court to order the accused to submit his valid international passport with the court, pending the time the matter will be finally decided.

Ruling on the bail application, Justice Saidu, admitted him to bail in the sum of N2 million with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties, according to the judge, must be residents of Lagos State, who should be owners of landed properties within the state.

The judge also ordered that the sureties’ landed properties must be verified by the prosecutor and the court registrar, and that the accused should deposit his valid international passport with the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar.

The matter has been adjourned till July 8, 2015, for trial.