N255m Armoured Cars Scandal: More facts emerge as FirstBank, Coscharis & Customs state cases at hearing

More cans of worms were thrown up on Wednesday in Abuja during the public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on the controversial N255m bulletproof cars purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

But the woman at the centre of the scandal, Ms Stella Oduah, dared the committee as she again reneged on her promise to honour an invitation earlier extended to her.

Her absence however led to a near disagreement between the Committee Chairman, Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, and a member, Jerry Manwe.

Manwe had complained that the committee started proceedings without first clarifying why Oduah, who is the Minister of Aviation, was absent.

He said, “We adjourned (on Tuesday)to take the minister today (Wednesday). Why is she not here?

“She should have been the main issue today (Wednesday).

“The absence of the minister (Oduah) is a slap on the face of the House.”
Responding, Onyejeocha argued that the hearing was not about Oduah alone.

She overruled Manwe and moved on to hear the officials of the Nigerian Customs Service, Coscharis and First Bank Nigeria Plc state their roles in the purchase of the cars for Oduah by the NCAA.

But even with her absence, the committee, the NCS, Coscharis Motors and First Bank Nigeria Plc made fresh revelations on the controversial cars.

Among the fresh revelations made public at the hearing was the difference in the chassis numbers of the cars inspected by the committee members and those in the transaction documents between the NCAA and Coscharis.

Another is how the Federal Ministry of Finance and the National Security Adviser were made to believe that the two vehicles were for the 18th National Sports Festival (Eko Games 2012) hosted by Lagos State.


The Customs Service was the first to blow the lid when it told the committee that no duty was paid on the cars because Coscharis obtained a duty exemption certificate from the Federal Ministry of Finance.

According to the Customs, the government lost N10.1m due to the waiver, which covered 300 vehicles, including the two controversial bulletproof cars.

The Deputy Comptroller-General (Modernisation and Economic Relations), Mr. Manasa Jatau, who testified before the panel, disclosed that the Ministry of Finance granted the waiver after Coscharis wrote that it wanted to import 300 assorted vehicles for the EKO Games.

He added that the “end beneficiary” of the cars, including the two bulletproof vehicles was the Lagos State Government.

However,he hinted that the waiver was later used as a cover to import the bulletproof cars to evade the payment of import duty.

He revealed that there was also a third bulletproof car imported by Coscharis.

The Customs chief who did not name the owner of the third bulletproof car, added that the office of the NSA issued a security clearance for the two bought for Oduah.

Asked whether a waiver granted for a specific purpose, could be transferred to a different end-user, he replied, “To the best of my knowledge, end-user certificate is not transferable.”

The DCG said, “N10.1m was the duty payable on the 300 vehicles; but no duty was paid because there was an import exemption certificate issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

“The waiver was for a period of one year.

“The waiver showed there were 300 vehicles for the sports festival, hosted from November to December, 2012.

“Only three of the vehicles were bulletproof and the NSA gave security certificate for their clearance.”


Coscharis Motors was represented at the hearing by its Chairman, Mr. Cosmos Maduka, and the Managing Director, Mr. Josiah Samuel.

The company admitted that it got a waiver to import vehicles for the games, saying that “it is the usual practice for government to approach us to supply vehicles for major events.”

However, efforts by the committee to establish how the waiver was used to cover the bulletproof cars, did not yield results.

Samuel parried questions and chose rather to advertise BMW cars to members at the hearing.

The committee however accused the company of conniving with the NCAA to inflate the cost of the cars. But Coscharis denied the accusation.

On the price of the cars, Samuel claimed that the BMWs were “7 Series, B7” security cars, which were costlier than their equivalent quoted by “independent amourers” on the Internet.

He argued that the cars in question had factory-fitted armour, as against buying a plain car before taking it to an independent firm to rebuild.

The Managing Director stated that the factory price for the grade of BMW cars it supplied the NCAA was €418,000, excluding other charges.

On how the company gets and utilises duty waivers, Josiah said most times, the waivers would come too close to the date of the event they were meant to cover.

“So, what we do is that we sign a Memorandum of Understanding with government to release the vehicles we have in our showroom. We then use the waiver to replace the vehicles we have supplied”, he added.
But, his response angered Manwe, who accused Coscharis of committing “fraud.”

Manwe said a quotation he received from an American firm showed that the same car sold for N42m.

He said, “We are not fools; you have been taking us for a ride.

“You imported the cars without paying duty, why are you selling one for over N127m? Are your own bulletproof cars manufactured in the moon.

“You got a waiver to import cars for the National Sports Festival, but you ended up using it to import bulletproof cars for the NCAA.

“You have been lying to us. You ripped off the people of Nigeria through the NCAA.

“That is the summary of what is before us here, so what are you saying?”

But, Maduka protested, saying his company did a legitimate transaction.

He said the whole scandal was “politically-motivated” for reasons he could not explain.

Maduka added, “We followed all the processes required. We sold vehicles to the NCAA and First Bank financed it.

“We were interviewed by the SSS(State Security Service), the NSA; we didn’t do any wrong.”

But, more drama played out when the Aviation Committee’s Sub-Committee on Inspection, reported that the armoured cars Coscharis supplied were different from the ones quoted in its letter to the NSA.

The committee had visited the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport on Tuesday to inspect the cars.

However, members discovered that the chassis numbers were different from the ones quoted in the transaction documents.

The leader of the inspection team, Mr. Ahmed Chanchangi, said, “We sighted the cars at the airport yesterday (Tuesday).

“The chassis numbers do not correspond with what you said you supplied. It looks like Nigeria was shortchanged here again”, he stated.

However, Maduka disagreed and insisted that a member of his staff ought to have accompanied the team to the airport to ascertain the cars they inspected.

The discrepancy in the chassis numbers was left unresolved.

First Bank
First Bank which was the financier of the transaction, confirmed that it entered into a loan agreement, “not lease agreement” with the NCAA.

The head of the bank’s Lagos Mainland branch, which handled the transaction, Mr. Seyi Ojefeso, recalled how the NCAA approached the bank for a loan to purchase vehicles for its management staff.

Ojefeso claimed that it was possible that the NCAA “got it mixed up” when it described it as a lease agreement.

He explained that the NCAA applied for a total loan package of N643m to finance the purchase of 54 vehicles.

For the bulletproof cars, he said there was a Coscharis proforma invoice attached to the application in the value of N255m.

He added, “We offered an auto loan to the NCAA in May to purchase cars for its management staff.

“The application was for N643m; we financed the purchase of the cars based on the application they submitted to us.”
The committee observed that the original request of the NCAA to the Minister of Aviation was N564m, but First Bank eventually approved a loan of N643.

When asked to explain how the difference came about, Ojefeso said only the NCAA could answer the question since N564m was not in the agency’s communication with the bank.

Credit: John Ameh/Sunday Aborisade/Punch
In a country where the minimum wage is one of the lowest in the world (developing countries), large sum of tax payers money are being spent on exotic cars?!

This scandal is no more about the Aviation Minister alone, but her cohort also - NCAA, Coscharis Motors, First Bank and the Customs. Corruption everywhere! 

Nigerian Banks will not approve loans for genuine business men but will jostle to grant exorbitant loans for exotic cars for corrupt government agencies.

Customs places high import duties on meager importation by the poor and struggling citizens but give the rich exorbitant waivers - making the poor pay for the rich.

Car sellers duping Nigerians and inflating car prices day-in day-out without proper regulation and intervention by the government. 

Naija!!! Chei!


  1. wow! this is getting interesting.

  2. Can of worms indeed, only God knows the level of corruption in other sectors and ministry


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