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Customs seizes 256 bags of contraband rice concealed as beans
Customs seizes 256 bags of contraband rice concealed as beans

 February 11, 2020

[Image: jim.jpg]
The Adamawa/Taraba Command of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) has impounded a trailer load of 256 50kg bags of contraband rice, each bag hidden in bigger bags packed with beans.

Customs Area Comptroller, Kamardeen Olumoh, who addressed newsmen at the headquarters in Yola on Tuesday, said the trailer was impounded and brought to the headquarters with the rice and beans content from where it was seized along the Yola-Mubi road.
He said the rice was hidden and presented as beans to deceive Nigerian Customs personnel who have been enforcing federal government’s policy against importation of rice.

The Customs Area Comptroller who gave the media briefing standing on a podium mounted beside the impounded trailer said, “This trailer you see here was intercepted supposedly carrying bags of beans but found on examination to have concealed bags of smuggled rice in bags of beans.

“At the end the count, we discovered that 256 bags of parboiled rice smuggled into the country were packed with the beans.”

He said both commodities and the trailer conveying them would be forfeited and warned owners of trailers and trucks to be mindful of those who drive their vehicles as vehicles found to have been used to convey contraband goods would always be seized with the goods.

He said two persons were arrested in connection with the seized trailer of rice and that they would be charged to court and would, by legal provisions, bag five years in prison without option of fine if convicted.

The Customs Area Comptroller who gave a summary of the performance of his command, which comprises the states of Adamawa and Taraba, in the 2019 operational year, said the year recorded improved Customs operations.

“During the year under review, the Command achieved major anti-smuggling feats,” Kamardeen Okumoh said, adding, “A total of 74 seizures were made, with the arrest of 20 suspects.”
Quote:$8 Million Seized At The Airport In Lagos Causes Controversy 

THE last is yet to be heard about the recent seizure of over $8million by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, at the premises of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, as the alleged owner said the actual amount was $9million as against the total of $8.1 million declared by the Customs.

Vanguard also learnt that the owner has started reaching out to some people in the corridors of power for the release of the money.

Meanwhile, NAHCO Aviance, operators of the MMIA cargo handling services, has denied involvement in the matter, and said it is ready and willing to partner with Customs and other relevant government agencies interested in identifying the owner of the questionable money.

Findings by Vanguard Maritime Report also revealed that contrary to claim by the Customs that a suspect arrested in connection with the alleged movement of foreign currency is under its custody, impeccable sources disclosed that the said suspect has since been released following intervention by the owner of the money.

Our top impeccable source, who spoke with our reporter in confidence hinted that the issue is been sorted out between Customs and the owner of the money.

He said, “You can be doing your report but the money in question belongs to a VIP in the ruling party, what are you going to do to him?

“Let me tell you, the arrest was a mistake, the Customs has been contacted and the matter is being resolved amicably. Let me also tell you that he is saying his money is $9million; so there are issues, but it is being resolved. The press conference was not necessary, all the stakeholders are part of the government and people are not supposed to rock the boat.”

During a press briefing on the matter, Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, Rtd, said travellers are by law required to declare any physical cash in excess of $10,000 or it’s equivalent in any other currencies or monetary instruments”, adding the consignment which was packed in a coaster bus belonging to NAHCO Aviance was loaded in six bags and were found not to have been declared at any approved point of entry or exit where voluntary declarations are recorded and maintained.

“One suspect, the driver of the bus, Chimezie Okonkwo, was immediately arrested and taken into custody with the intercepted consignment. On Saturday, 18th of January, 2020, an inventory of the consignment was taken and was witnessed by representatives of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), Customs Intelligence Unit, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Unit, Customs Police and the suspect.

“At the end of the inventory, a total number of 20 sealed wraps of Bagco bags were opened, counted, re-sealed and re-wrapped under video coverage from the beginning of the exercise to the end, and the total amount intercepted stood at $8,065,612 only.

“The consignment remains in safe custody while preliminary investigations have commenced on the seizures.”

NCS said the matter have been transferred to the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, without giving a hint of the outcome of its investigation.

When the Customs Area Controller, MMIA Lagos, Comptroller Wale Adeniyi, was contacted for a reaction over claim of $9million and the release of the suspect, he said:

“The sum of $8,065,612 was intercepted. That was the amount announced by the CG. Suspect was arrested with the exhibit on Thursday 16 January. He was in our custody till Friday 24th January when he was transferred to Abuja.”

[Image: 11037288_5e395b26a061b_jpeg219179105d94f...4f5b92c043]

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