The Ogun Area Command II of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Friday said it has released the bullion van it impounded in April 2022 which was found loaded with rice.
The Customs Area Controller, Olusola Alade, who disclosed this to newsmen in Abeokuta said the van was impounded after being found to contain 12 bags of 50kg smuggled foreign parboiled rice.
He added that the van which was discovered to be belonging to an Abeokuta branch of Access Bank was also loaded with the sum of sum of N24.4 million.
The money and the bullion van, which has the registration number FKJ 993 BZ, have now been handed over to officials of Bankers Warehouse Ltd. and Access Bank in Abeokuta.
“The bullion van belongs to Bankers Warehouse and was impounded on April 22, 2022 by a joint border patrol team along the Sokoto-ljoun/Joga road in the Abeokuta axis.
“The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, has now ordered the release of the bullion van and the money to both the Bankers Warehouse and Access Bank on compassionate ground after investigation,” Alade said.
The Area Controller added that three suspects were arrested and charged to court in connection with the crime.
“The seized foreign parboiled rice which were 12 bags of 50kg each were carefully concealed in the said vehicle.
“Consequently, the said vehicle and the items were conveyed to the Customs House in Abeokuta for safekeeping.
“After conducting examination on the vehicle, the said amount of money was discovered and deposited at the Abeokuta branch of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for safekeeping.
“The vehicle was detained while the rice was converted to seizure in line with Section 168 of Nigeria Customs Service Act, 2023.
“In connection to the above seizures, three suspects were arrested, detained, granted administrative bail and subsequently charged to court for aiding smuggling,” he explained.
Alade added that the Bankers Warehouse Ltd and Access Bank later wrote an appeal letter to the Customs’ Comptroller-General for the release of both the van and money on compassionate ground.
“This was in a bid to retrieve the detained van and the money, and based on the outcome of investigation and recommendations of the Investigation Unit of the NCS, the Comptroller-General granted an approval for the release of the detained van and the money.
“This is in line with the provision of section 248 (1) and (2) of NCS Act, 2023,” he said.(NAN)