Customs Deny Claim of Misrepresentation Over Seized Rice
By Olamide Fadoju
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has denied claims of misrepresentation by Masters Energy over the seizure of 33 containers of rice that were mostly expired.
The NCS last week announced the seizure of 54 containers with goods like expired rice, vegetable oil, tyres, Tramadol etc, worth 54 million naira however Masters Energy Commodity, a company that imported the rice told Nigeria Info FM in an exclusive chat that the rice was not expired as alleged by the NCS but were actually imported 3 years ago and seized by the Nigerian government.
In response, Customs Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah said it was true 30 containers imported by Masters Energy and falsely declared as yeast were seized two years ago but the rice was forfeited to the Federal Government and given to the victims of the insurgency in the north-east in line with Presidential directive.
He said the recent discovery of containers stacked in the terminal came because of thorough investigations of the un-utilized bill of Lading and unclosed manifests, which led to the physical discovery of these containers with expired rice.
“Because of the on-going border closure, our fear is that may now start to divert all their activities through the seaports.
“So the Controller-General directed all commands especially seaports and airport. Tin Can even went as far as auditing all manifests that were not closed, all bill of laden that had not been utilized and they discovered that there are some containers that are in this terminals that have not been declared.
The Customs spokesperson said Masters Energy should have stayed out of the whole drama since they failed to follow due process.
“Instead of them to keep quiet they are coming out to say these things were not just brought in now, they have been there. Why has it been there? Why did you not declare?.”
Additional Reports By Clementine Okonye