Business Hilights

Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

PUB ADMIN Transport

Editorial: NAGAFF Petition and that Maiwada’s rebuttal without relevant facts

Ad 2
Ad 3

Whereas it has been the strategy of several government agencies accused of corruption to hurriedly jump into the media with humongous claims of anti-corruption character, transparency, accountability, and adherence to the rule of law in all financial activities, in this case of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team’s allegation in a letter to the Comptroller-General of NCS, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi recently, it is very pertinent for the Abdullah Maiwada-led PRO desk of the Customs to go beyond mere rhetoric and furnish Nigerians with real verifiable evidences of clean e-Auction process.

Otherwise, the statement that said NAGAFF allegation is entirely false, misguided, and spurious deserves more in the presentation of facts and figures to show clearly that the petition is misguided indeed.

Looking at the NAGAFF letter titled: “The Monumental Stealing By The Customs Auction Committee And Their Plans To Dispose-Off Overtime Containers,” and signed by the National Coordinator of the Compliance Team, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the group alleged that plans have been concluded to extend the same fraudulent treatment in the auction of overtime containers.

The letter reads in part: “As we write, more than 300 vehicles have been auctioned to just one person after some huge underhand payments. A token ridiculous sum of N10,000 each is collected as duties to the federal government!.

“As if that is not enough, plans have been concluded to extend the same odious treatment in the auction of overtime containers. No gain saying that those containers were only ‘abandoned’ there due to the huge shipping and terminal demurrages accrued overtime. Most have paid their duties.”

NAGAFF however, maintained that auctioning the overtime cargoes goes against extant laws that demands that they be evacuated to the government warehouse, Ikorodu.

“We think it is better to invite the consignees to take delivery devoid of the outstanding demurrages. The economic situation dictates so.

Business Hilights observes with high sense of responsibility that the mere silence on the Ikorodu Warehouse claims by NAGAFF in the rebuttal statement is highly unacceptable and goes to show that Maiwada may have not sat with the e-Auction Committee chairman before going to press after all .

Also, the petitioner added in quick succession that “We therefore implore your good offices to institute a thorough investigation into these unholy practices carefully organized and perpetrated by this auction committee operating presently at the Tin Can Island Port complex and PTML,” the letter stated.

Denying allegations with mere words does not add up in many sane communities.

For instance, Maiwada said the NCS Auction Committee operates within the confines of the law and adheres strictly to established guidelines and procedures for disposing of seized/overtime goods and argued that “Regarding the allegation that over 300 vehicles have been auctioned to just one individual via the e-auction window after purported underhand payments, we wish to state that this is entirely false, misguided, and spurious.

Maiwada said “Furthermore, suggesting that a token sum of N10,000 is collected as duties to the Federal Government on the e-auction window, which has a reserved price of N400, 000 is indeed misleading and misrepresentation of fact.”

According to him, “From the data generated upon completing five successful bidding windows, 13,605 applicants registered in five windows on our e-auction portal, where 476 vehicles were uploaded, and 462 won. Also, the government realized N556,738,736 as revenue. It begs the question of where the allegations are coming from.

Many observers had expected that after the above paragraph, there should have been a supporting attachment of evidence for back up than just telling Nigerians that data generated in the bidding is this or that amount.

Accordingly, just as Maiwada noted that “We wish to reaffirm our commitment to transparency, accountability, and adherence to the rule of law in all our activities,” it is important that the CG gives an urgent critical attention to the petition and help to make public whatever he or the committee he may set up to look at the petition will present as their report in the shortest time possible. By so doing, the respected Nigerian Customs Service will not fall into the same trap Hameed Ali found himself in the same e-Auction issue.

This is the stand of Business Hilights Publications on this matter.

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.