...Officer, wharf rats allegedly clear vehicle with falsified documents
The PTML Command of the Nigeria Customs Service is currently embroiled in ‘container flying’ scandal, even as one of its officers; Assistant Superintendent of Customs, Vincent Umeh has been alleged to have cleared two vehicles with falsified documents. In a petition written to the PTML customs command, a copy of which was obtained by Shipping Position Daily, Chief Executive Officer of Horse Flight Logistics Limited; Mr Andrew Ugwi alleged that two vehicles; Toyota Sienna and Mercedes Benz for which he had paid all necessary duties were stolen out of the terminal by the officer in collaboration with a wharf rat; one Johnson Apeh The PTML customs command has however denied the allegation, saying that the affected officer has been transferred to Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘B’. Ugwi who is also the Coordinator, Ethics, Discipline and Investigation of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) told our correspondent that the security system at the PTML terminal to forestall fraudulent activities is totally unreliable. He explained that he had agreed to clear each of the cars for N400, 000 for the importer According to him, on getting to the shipping company to perfect the exit of the vehicles, the importer was not forth coming with his identity picture which is one of the requirements. This according to him led to the job being delayed and accumulating demurrage. "I instantly decided within me to block the jobs on Thursday 16th November 2017 only to discover that the Sienna had been removed and stolen with fake documents by the said customs officer and his boy", he alleged. The petition reads in part: "the two vehicles were judiciously accessed and paid for by me, the entries were officially released and exited by the Customs at the PTML Terminal" "When I got to the shipping company and was waiting for the importer whose name was on the bill of laden to send his ID for the procedure to be completed, Vincent Umeh (ASC) who had earlier bided for the contract, decided to print out all the Customs documents from the TS and falsified other shipping and bank document to fraudulently remove the Toyota Sienna from the port" "Vincent Umeh and Johnson Apeh were arrested on the 17th November 2017 while compiling and perfecting documents to bring out the second vehicle (Mercedes Benz) and handed over to the RoRo Police Tin Can Island Port, Apapa" In a separate petition which he had written to the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Nigerian ports, the clearing agent urged the AIG to step into the investigation and take it over to ensure truth and justice is encouraged to forestall continuous use of forged document in the ports to cause loss of revenue to the Federal Government. He alleged that the case is not being handled properly by the RoRo police command. He however said that the original documents of the vehicles are still with him. While reacting to the allegations, Public Relations Officer of the PTML command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Yakubu M. A said that the concerned officer, Vincent Umeh is not on the nominal role of officers at the command. He said that the officer has been transferred to the Federal Operations Unit, Zone 'B' He told Shipping Position Daily yesterday that the command is aware of the development and that it would be passed to the Customs Investigation Unit (CIU) for further investigation. "He cannot be here working with uniform and we would not know him, maybe he can be here working without uniform, and if this is so, he cannot get access to the terminal because we have deactivated all the access cards belonging to the officers that were transferred" "He can be here working with mufty and using somebody else's agency, but we would still investigate it", he said.