By Godfrey Bivbere
A senior Customs officer serving at the Seme border Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), is on the run over his alleged involvement in a N750 million import duty fraud which took place at the Command between May 2006 and December 2008.
Also accused of involvement in the fraud are three persons and their companies. They Chuks Okpara of Okoso Nigeria Limited, Sidney Dunu of Donsid International Limited and Louise Anokwuru of Luwinco Nigeria Limited.
Already, the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has dragged the three clearing agents and their companies to court over an allegedly conniving with the Seme Customs chief account, Rasheed Adigun, to de-fraud the federal government of N750 million duty.
The prosecutor I.N. Ahmed by the Order of the NCS Board, in an 18_ count charge slammed on the accused, stated that a clearing agent Chuks Okpara who is also the managing director of Okoso Nigeria Limited was alleged to have conspired with Adigun at Seme Area Command to fraudulently signed Single Declaration (SGD) on behalf of some importers namely: Integrated Maritime Services Nigeria Ltd., Vuco Consult Ltd., and Base Shoes Nigeria Ltd. to wit: untrue declaration, the result of the Federal Government of Nigeria lost the sum of N275.3million as payment of duties payable in respect of goods cleared by them thereby committing an offence punishable under section 161(1)(a) of the Customs and Exercise Management Act, Cap C.C. 45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria2004 and punishable under section 161 (3 the same section of the Laws.
Chuks Okpara was also alleged to have fraudulently caused to be signed a Diamond Bank Security pay_in_form Customs Revenue Collection with serial number 0026340 dated 22nd February, 2007on behalf of Integrated Maritime Services Nigeria Ltd., Vuco Consult Ltd., and Base Shoes Nigeria Ltd. They were also alleged to have connived â€˜and falsified Diamond Security Pay in form, Customs Revenue Collection with serial number 0026340 as payment duties payable in respect of goods cleared by them.
The 7th count reads: That you Sidney Dunu (M), a clearing agent and Donsinid International Limited, 42Â Odogbolu Street, Aguda , Surulere Lagos , and Rasheed Adigun , a superintendent of Customs and Chief Accountant of Seme Border Area Command on or about the month of May 2006 and December 2008(both months inclusive) at the Seme Border Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court knowingly and fraudulently signed Single Goods Declaration forms, also known as SGD on behalf of some companies namely Integrated Maritime Services Nigeria Limited, Benester Investment Ltd. , Gae Ventures and Commercial, which are false, the result of the Federal; Government of Nigerian lost a sum of N439.7million as payment of duties payable in respect of goods cleared by you, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 161 (1)(a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. Câ€¦ Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under sub _section 3 of the same section of the Act.
Also, one Louis Anokwuru, a clearing agent and Luwinco Nigeria Limited , of 51/53 Oshodi Apapa Express Road, Lagos and the Customs Chief Accountant wereÂ alleged to have fraudulently signed Single Goods Declaration form to defraud the Federal Government of the sum N163m as payment of duties. Meanwhile, Rasheed Adigun, the Customs Chief Accountant has abandoned his duty post at Seme Border.Â Â Â Â Filename: CustomsÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â July 27, 2009