By Samson Echenim
LAGOS—OFFICERS of the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Thursday, rejected a bribe of $412,000 (N150 million) offered them by importers of 40 containers of Tramadol from India, to allow the illicit import into the country.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hammed Ali (retd), who disclosed this during a press briefing at the Apapa Area 1 Command, said: “The rejection of N150 million bribe, presents a picture of a reformed NCS whose operatives are increasingly putting national interest above selves.”
The Customs boss noted that the 40 units of 40ft containers laden with Tramadol and other pharmaceutical products have a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N7.318 billion.
He said: “The Service is not only making concerted efforts to ensure that only maximum revenue is collected, but also to safeguard the security and well-being of the citizenry.
“It is in line with the determination to fight this ugly trend that the Apapa Command of the Service intercepted 40 X 40 feet containers, mostly from India. In their criminal desperation, importers of this items offered bribes to the tune of N150 million to my officers to effect the release of just one container with promises of even bigger sums to follow in the event that, their first attempt succeeds.” The Officers played along and eventually arrested three suspects with the money. Let me assure you that the on-going investigation will be thorough to bring all those remotely connected to justice.”
Ali said Apapa Command within this same period, also seized two aircrafts, a helicopter with Registration Number SN-BLI which was intended for export, in container number PONU7789246. It was falsely declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts.
Investigations are ongoing to fish out the owner(s) of the helicopter.