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Upon prevailing matter in court, Customs begins e-auctioning of seizures, cars

Contrary to earlier speculations that the authorities of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) will avoid what can be seen as contempt of court by stepping down the resumption of the July 1 e-auctioning of seizures, it went ahead as planned.

Otherwise, the Service on Monday July 3, unveiled an electronic auction platform by which cargoes that have been forfeited to the Federal Government could be sold to Nigerians through a transparent bidding process.

Business Hilights gathered that the Association of Auctioneers of Nigeria (AAN) had on hearing of e-auctioning policy went to Court to seek further explanation of an understanding it had with the Service as the by way of e-auction method, they are cut out from the business which may jeopardize their earlier understanding with the federal agency in auctioning of seizures.

Though the next adjourned date for the matter was September, Business Hilights gathered that during the previous seating, there was no ruling barring Customs from going ahead with the e-auction policy after all.

Details from Customs headquarters in Abuja on Monday showed that the unveiling of the e-auction platform was performed by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd).

Present at the event were members of the e-auction committee made up of representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) among others.

Ali described the launching of the platform as a game-changer for the service as it would bring about a regime of transparency and consistency in the disposal of seized vehicles to Nigerians.

The Cusoms boss noted that the approval of the electronic platform was done based on the conviction that it would assist in checking the abuse which the manual auction process was subjected to in the past.

He recalled that in the past, there had been issues and infractions on direct auctioning, saying “The launching of the e-auction platform today marks a complete departure from the manual process of the past that was opened to abuses”.

“In the past, stakeholders had accused the Service of nepotism, short-changing the government of revenue through arbitrary auction fees to be paid by allottees and sundry corruption allegations against the Service.

“Consequently, since my assumption of duty as the CGC, suspension order was placed on the manual auction to give way to development of an electronic platform that will be secured, transparent, capable of increasing revenue as well as providing equal opportunities for all Nigerians who are interested in the process.

“It’s been a long walk to an era of a system that will ensure transparency and accountability in such a way that leaves nobody in doubt that NCS has the capacity to discharge its responsibilities with utmost sincerity,” Ali said.

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