26 January 2011

Nigeria: Task Force On 100 Percent Examination Rakes N10b Revenue

The Presidential Joint Task Force set up by the Federal Government to ensure 100 Percent physical examination of cargoes coming into the country have raked in over N10 billion into the coffers of the Nigeria Customs.

The Task Force, which is made up of operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Nigerian Customs Service have also seized 73 containers containing contraband of various kinds since it commenced operation in December 2010.

In a report submitted by the ICPC team in the Task Force, out of the 73 containers seized, 23 of them contained contraband of various textiles.

The report also indicated that the taskforce was able to collect over N367 million from wrong and under declaration of goods by importers and their agents.

The ICPC team also revealed that on January 13, 100kg of cocaine valued at N1.1 billion concealed in containers containing tiles were seized by them.

"Already, the container which originated from Bolivia has been seized while the agents responsible for the contraband have been arrested and presently in the custody of the NDELA for further investigation," the report indicated.

Furthermore, the report said that three customs officers responsible for clearing of the 23 contraband containers of textiles had been arrested and charged to court for economic sabotage while 16 senior custom officers said to be involved in one form of the alleged activities in the Port have been transferred from the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in the last one month.

The report also disclosed that the first head of the taskforce, one Comptroller Edike, was removed and replaced by Comptroller Lima as part of measures to ensure the full realization of government policy on generation of revenue by the customs service.

In the report, the team said that most importers and agents were not sincere in their activities "as they set out deliberately to defraud the government by wrong declaration and under declaration of goods in their containers. We can say that 90 percent of the containers were not appropriately declared."

The Task Force which has ten ICPC Operatives was set up by the Federal Government to enhance revenue generation by the Nigerian Customs for the country.

Secondly the Task Force was mandated to assess the operational procedure of the Customs Service in the various parts with a view to know how transparent they are.

The Task Force was also to ensure 100 percent physical examination of all cargoes that comes into the country through the various ports and prevent entry of contraband, concealment of arms and ammunition into Nigeria.

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