Vaswani’s Stallion under probe over importation of 20,000 cars

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
Sunil Vaswani

The Senate Committee on Investment on Tuesday began a probe into allegation that a major auto dealer, Stallion Group of Companies, took advantage of an insider information on the new automotive policy introduced by the Federal Government on October 2, to begin the process of importing over 20,000 cars into the country.

The committee noted that the alleged leaked information gave Stallion Group an  unfair advantage over other local dealers.

The automobile firm, which imports the Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Audi brands of vehicles into the country, among others, according to a petition from its competitors, allegedly had a pre-knowledge of the details of the automotive policy and used it to its advantage.

The competitors had protested to the Senate panel that as the deliberation on the automotive policy was ongoing at the Federal Executive Council meeting on October 2, when the Stallion Group, headed by Sunil Vaswani, rushed to open letters of credit to the tune of $382m to cover three years of imports for 20,000 cars.

Chairman of the senate  committee, Nenadi Usman, said, “The committee has received figures of vehicle imports over the years and we will go back as a committee and do our verification.

“Clearly, stakeholders have no problem with the auto policy, but have reservations on the manner of implementation. I think that is why we are here.”

The Auto Manufacturers’ Representatives Group in Nigeria, led by the Micheal  Ade-Ojo, said his group backed the auto policy, but insisted that the time-line provided in the auto policy for local dealers to establish motor assembly plants in the country, be extended by two years.

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