Markets

Customs Moves against Fraudulent Importers, Agents, Others

Worried about a poor image due to various trade crimes being committed over the decades in the area, the leadership of the Tin Can Island Customs Command, is currently working on a transformation agenda to reposition the seaport.
 
THISDAY checks revealed that the leadership of the Customs Command has vowed to bring to an end to all traditional trade crimes in the seaport involving importers, freight forwarders and some unscrupulous customs officers.
 
The Tin Can Island Port has over the decades been notorious for trade crimes, with many importers using the seaport to bring in some contraband, including hard drugs that had been seized in the seaport.
 
Apart from this, there had been allegations of some containers being taken out of the port without undergoing customs clearing processes by a strong syndicate operating in the seaport.
 
Sources at the port have said the situation was so bad that some containers had been moved out of the seaport in the past with the use of password of senior officers who are in charge of releasing of containers in the port. Some officers had been summoned to the Headquarters of the Customs to answer queries over their involvement in the release of such containers out of the ports without due processes.
 
A source close to the Command told THISDAY that the Controller, Mr. Jibrin Zakare, who assumed office few months ago, is working on giving the Tin Can Island port a new image by checking all forms of trade malpractices under which billions of Naira revenue that should have been collected in the past were lost.
 
Under this measure, a searchlight is being beamed on all forms of under-declaration, concealment, outright ‘flying of containers or some goods that had taken place in the past. It was gathered that the government had lost so much revenue as a result of connivance between importers, customs agents and some unscrupulous customs officers due to such trade crime.
 
A source disclosed that to address the problem, the Controller has been holding meetings with  key officers of the Command, importers and their customs agents associations, to warn them  against trade crime and the consequences.
 
As part of the measures to ensure change, it was gathered that so many importers who brought in contraband goods through the Tin Can Port have had them seized in the past few months.
 
The measure, THISDAY checks reveal, has helped in boosting the revenue generation of the Command which for the first time in the history of the Command has recorded increased revenue of over N23 billion separately in August and September this year, among several seizures.
 
The Command has also prosecuted some importers and their agents who were arrested over some trade crimes in the port. It was gathered that some officers who were involved in trade crime have had to face various disciplinary measures, either by redeployment or dismissal, depending on the nature of the crime.

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