…As NCS Accuses Politicians of Aiding Vehicle Smuggling Ahead of 2019
Intending buyers of imported vehicles in Nigeria have been warned to go extra mile at checking authenticity if the vehicles’ import documents to avoid unknowingly buying smuggled vehicles with the inherent problems.
The Area Controller of the Federal Operations Units (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Aliyu Mohammed, gave this advice while addressing newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.
“To avoid buying problems with their money,” Aliyu warned, “buyers of imported vehicles should verify the authenticity of the import and clearance documents with the appropriate Customs Area Controllers (CACs) at the seaports.”
The FOU Zone “A” boss, also urged the public to join customs in the fight against smuggling, considering its economic consequences to the Nation.
Commenting on the high rate of vehicle smuggling into the country, despite government tough policy against the crime, Mohammed alleged that politicians, in their bid to buy or reward patronage with gift items ahead of the 2019 elections, were also adding to the rate of smuggling even as the end-of-year festivities approach.
Mohammed revealed that his command intercepted various smuggled items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth N2.24 billion in one month.
According to him, the smuggled items include nine bullet-proof Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and 11,000 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice, with an approximate DPV of N2.02 billion.
He said that 28 suspects were arrested in connection with the total of 89 seizures between Sept. 4 to Oct. 3.
He explained: “The unit also recovered the sum of N220.03 million from Demand Notices (DNs) on vehicles and other general goods that had evaded full payment at sea and airports through false/under-declaration or transfer of value, bringing the approximate total to N2.24 billion.
“The items include 22 exotic vehicles with an approximate DPV of N1.18 billion. These comprised four bullet-proof Lexus Jeep LX570 (2016), three bullet-proof Land Cruiser Jeeps (2016), and bullet-proof Mercedes Benz G63 (2014) and S550 (2015).
“Others are three Toyota Hilux (2018), two Toyota Highlander (2018), a unit each of Toyota Rav4 (2015), Toyota Prado (2018), Toyota Land Cruiser (2016), Toyota Corolla, Toyota Fortuner (2017), Toyota Sequoia and Lexus RX 350, among others.
“Also some of the vehicles were intercepted at Ogere and along Ijebu Ode Expressway in Ogun State. The bullet-proof vehicles were trailed and evacuated from some private residences at Victoria Island based on credible information,” Muhammed said.
Mohammed, however, commended the efforts of the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali and his management team for providing the unit with necessary incentives and logistics.