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HomeBUSINESSSeized 33 Rice Containers: Nigeria Customs Boss Reacts to Masters Energy Limited...
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Seized 33 Rice Containers: Nigeria Customs Boss Reacts to Masters Energy Limited Allegations

The attention of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) has been drawn to a false narrative aimed at his person and position of the Nigeria Customs Service by officials of Messrs, Masters Energy Limited.

In their desperation to save face, their lawyer had gone to town discrediting the media briefing about the seizure of 33 containers of rice that were mostly expired and few about to expire.

For clarity, NCS wishes to state as follows:

Yes indeed 30 containers imported by Masters Energy and falsely declared as Yeast were seized in 2016/2017.

That after judicial process, the rice was forfeited to the Federal Government. The 30 containers of rice was given to the victims of the insurgency in the north-east in line with Presidential directive.

On Tuesday 29th October 2019, the CGC addressed the Press about the interception of 54 containers, out of which 33 containers contain rice.

It should be noted that in these 33, only 25 belong to Masters Energy Limited.

The discovering of these containers stacked in the terminal came as a result of painstaking profiling of un-utilized Bill of Lading and unclosed manifests which led to the physical discovering of these containers with expired rice. Some of the bags carry Nigeria Addresses coming from outside the country. (No. 31A Remi Fani Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos and Yunee International Trading Co. Ltd, 103 Ebittu Ukiwe Street, Jabi, Abuja)

It should be noted that when goods are imported but not declared, they are not yet brought to Customs attention hence cannot exit the port unless the owners succeed in compromising Port officials and operatives to smuggle them out. This was not (or could not) be the case here.

It was therefore the recent steeped up surveillance at all entry and exit points that led to the holistic audit of all manifests and profiling of all un-utilized Bill of Lading that led to this interception. It is obvious that their desperation to save face is hindering understanding of the fact that until an undeclared container is identified, it cannot be intercepted therefore cannot be talked about. Why should it bother the company that NCS is informing the public about the interception of containers they did not declare? Could it be for the fear of the legal action that will follow the press briefing?

Containers have distinct identities (Numbers) so cannot be mixed to confuse the public. We have the numbers of those falsely declared as yeast and seized then and these (25 in reference) are containers that were not declared and have been fished-out through profiling. They are distinct and clear for any well meaning individual to understand. (See attached lists for 2016 and 2019 seizures). The dates of seizures can be seen in column 9 of the attached lists.

NCS is already known for its high profile interceptions, like the 2,671 Pump Action rifles in 2017, over N14 billion worth of dreaded Tramadol, increased revenue generation among many others. We therefore have no need to use Masters Energy’s expired 25 containers of rice to “Shine”.

It is imperative to state that, the following day Wednesday 30th October 2019, the CGC again addressed the media at Port-Harcourt Area II Command, Onne, about another 11 Containers of expired rice worth N102,352,800.00 and many other prohibited items worth billions of naira. All these are the Service resolve to rid the country of prohibited, unwholesome and harmful items.

As a responsible agency of Government, NCS will not disappoint on its mandate of enforcing compliance by maintaining zero tolerance to smuggling activities, irrespective of whoever is involved and under whatever circumstances

Let it be clear that NCS stands by every word spoken during the Press briefing and has already commenced action towards bringing the culprits to justice.

Signed:

DC, Joseph Attah

Public Relations Officer

For: Comptroller-General of Customs

-Compiled by Dedeigbo Ayodeji

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