At least four clearing agents were arrested for forging the signature of the Customs Area Controller in charge of the TinCan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyode, to clear imported cars.
Oloyode, who said this while briefing journalists on the half-year report of the command, said that the agents wanted to clear four trucks and some cars.
He added that the agents were arrested even though they had been granted administrative bail.
“We discovered an incident of forgery of the signature of the Area Controller, which is why you have this here. The standard procedure for the clearance of non-standard Vehicles Identification Number is that the CAC must approve the use of that particular code. So, their papers were still on my table but they went ahead to forge my signature on another application.”
Explaining further, he said, “They were trying to escape and get out of the terminal. The officers that were supposed to release the goods were vigilant enough because I sent to all the terminals a sample of my signature. So, these four trucks belong to four different people and they actually forged my signature. They were apprehended and locked up for sometime, but for the sake of human rights, they are on administrative bail for now. But as we go ahead, definitely, we are going to prosecute them.”
Meanwhile the CAC said that between January and June 2022, the command collected a total sum of N274. 320bn a figure which he said represented a 27.50 per cent increase from what the command collected within the same period in 2021.
Oloyode said that the command had strengthened the risk management structure to mitigate the consistent attempts by some non-complaint agents to abuse the process through act of commercial fraud.
“At the command level, we faced challenges at the early stages of the deployment due to the degrees of understanding of the process, most especially on the part of stakeholders. Nevertheless, we have been able to overcome them as we put into force Article 2 of the trade facilitation agreement through continuous engagement and consultations with the relevant stakeholders which led to updates and upgrades of the service to address some of these challenges.
He said that the within the period experienced an increase in export activities.
According to him, the command recorded an outward throughput in export cargo of 138, 245.50 metric tons, representing an increase by 73 per cent from 100, 500 recorded in 2022.
“With a Free on Board of N100 447, 304, 814.00 this represents an increase of 69percent from N66, 294, 630,421.00 recorded in the fiscal year of 2022,” he concluded.