The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Owerri has impounded 2016 Range Rover with duty paid value of N28,049,645.
Other vehicles seized by the Zone under the leadership of the new Comptroller, Amajam Bukar Alhaji includes 2010 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon Bullet Proof with duty paid value of N74,250,000, 2008 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon with duty paid value of N18,528,750, 2016 Toyota Prado with duty paid value of N25,658,201, 2013 Toyota Prado with duty paid value of N17,349,647, 2011 Toyota Prado with duty paid value of N74,250,000 and One Nissan Almera with duty paid value of 4,725,000.
Conducting Journalists round government warehouse in Benin, Edo State and Owerri, Imo State where some of the seizures made under his watch were deposited, Comptroller Amajam explained that on assumption of duty, the Zone, in May till date has recorded seizures of items including:
· 1591 used tires with duty paid value of N14,378,400;
· 3889 bags of rice with duty paid value of N 101,478,000. Their various means of conveyance including a Volkswagen bus, Volvo truck, Ford Transit Bus, MAN truck, Mercedes Benz lorry all with a duty paid value of N19,740,300;
· 380 cartons of soap with duty paid value of N10,093,009;
· 1x40ft container intercepted along Aba/Eleme containing assorted goods including 6600 pieces of sewing machine, 3080 sewing machine motor, 47 pieces of empty gas cylinder, 19 pieces of gas stove, 9900 packets of measuring tape, 1080 bundles of PVC package, 320 scissors amongst various other items with a duty paid value of N111,572,300;
The seizures brings the amount of duty paid value for the seized items to N261,987,009.
The Unit also recovered N10,646,477 being underpayments for the month of May.
A statement issued by Public Relations Officer, Onuoha Chioma explained that other commodities are in detention pending investigations, “These include a container of 1401 rolls of fabric with duty paid value of N14,100,000 and assorted cars”.
Comptroller Amajam explained that the commodities seized were in contravention of the law with some of the infractions bordering on false declarations and deliberate attempts to evade duty payment.
He said: “We cannot ease business if there is fraudulent declaration. In an honest society where honest declaration is done then the ease of doing business will be achieved.”
He described deliberate efforts at false declaration and wrong classification to evade duty payments as acts of smuggling and urged importers and agents not to cut corners but to ensure proper classification of their goods and commodities and pay the right duty on them.
“Be law abiding. Always follow the legal provisions for any imports and exports. Classify appropriately and do the right thing at all times,” he charged.
Comptroller Amajam who declared a zero tolerance for smuggling said he would in addition to anti-smuggling activities engage the media to raise awareness of the dangers and negative impacts of smuggling.
He decried the vice saying that it has led to loss of jobs, increase in criminal activity and attendant insecurity.
“FOU Zone ‘C’ Owerri is committed to enforcing government policy and we can do this through your help raising awareness and educate the public about the dangers of smuggling,” he told the press. “Not only does smuggling damage our economy, some of the smuggled goods threaten the health and safety of our citizens.”
Comptroller Amajam on assumption of duty commended officers and men of FOU Zone ‘C’ Owerri for their hard work and dedication, urging them to be professional and diligent in the discharge of their duties and ensure all revenue leakages are blocked.
He restated that the command under his watch will intensify its anti-smuggling operations to sustain the mandate of FOU and bring smuggling to its barest minimum.
Speaking on the rice seizures Comptroller Amajam explained that any rice importation without appropriate approval and importation through the seaport is liable to seizure.
He reiterated that the ban on rice importation through the land borders in still in force and urged importers to follow the legal provisions for importation of rice to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.