Customs is plotting to jail me, AREFFN boss, Frank Ukor, cries out

National President of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria (AREFF), Dr Frank Ukor, has raised alarm that the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is intent on sending him to jail for an infraction he is not guilty of.
Ukor accused the NCS of alleged vindictiveness because he kicked against its recent move to auction overtime containers at the port.
“I aired an opinion to say that it would be better for the government to call the owners of these consignments to come and clear them and give them penalty for bringing in those discrepancies. According to the destination guidelines, if you bring in goods that have discrepancies and it is scanned and found out, a process of conflict resolution is followed. But instead of doing that, Customs chose to seize those containers. You are all aware that those containers are being auctioned in spite of the protests made. The point I am trying to make is that these are some of the issues that I talked about for which I am being witch-hunted”, he said.

Ukor told journalists in his office that his business is being threatened as the license of his company – Destiny Impex Limited, which was blocked by the NCS for being used to clear a number of containers which recorded duty underpayment, has not been re-validated even after allegedly proving that the license was used without authorization.
“About 20th of March, I got a call from my COO (Chief Operating Officer) that my license has been blocked. I made investigations and I found out that it was really blocked. I called Julius Nwagwu and he said he doesn’t know anything about it and I should go and ask the CG. I wrote a letter to EFCC to ask why they ordered my license blocked and they wrote back to say that I connived with some people to defraud the Federal Government. I called my manager to find out how and he said that he did not do any such job. We investigated and found out that the person that did the job doesn’t know me or my manager.
“Some years back when Single Goods Declaration (SGD) Form was still in use, there’s a provision for where every agency signs to show that it has taken responsibility for the job but later Customs introduced another system whereby you go to DTI (Direct Trade Input) café, capture the job and go off without the person who owns the license knowing about it. So, the guy went to the DTI, captured the job, went through the customs table, released the goods and took delivery but now everything bounces on me. I only knew about the job when it was completed and my license was blocked. Just within two weeks the job was done, my license was blocked. That will show you that this man has been marked out. I won’t be surprised if somebody has gotten somebody to do that to implicate me”, he said.

Ukor lamented that even after he unmasked the person who illegally used his license, and who, according to him, is in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Customs Service is bent on incarcerating him for a crime he is not responsible for.
The AREFFN boss revealed that he spent four days himself in the custody of EFCC last month even before the culprit was apprehended.



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