Assistant Comptroller General in charge of Modernization and Research of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Iya Abubakar Umar, has revealed that most of the over 99,000 ‘unprocessed’ Risk Assessment Reports (RARs) which were allegedly issued by the three Destination Inspection (DI) service providers were actually fabricated by clearing agents in connivance with some unscrupulous officers.
Addressing maritime stakeholders in Lagos last Thursday, Umar said that although the NCS management was mindful of some importers who were not issued RARs after submission of their final documents before the November 30th deadline given to the service providers, most of the unprocessed RARs slowing down the issuance of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) were fraudulent as they were generated after Customs took over generation of the risk assessment report.
“All the problems we are having now are caused by us. You (clearing agents) and some customs officers, let us not tell lies. I have seen RAR that was generated on the 2nd of December, how was that generated. We know it is not true but since you are complaining, the management has decided to bring succour to those whose goods are still in the port. But we know they are lies because the pipe was closed on 30th November. So how did the service providers generate your own RARs?” he questioned.
He said that the success of the PAAR regime lies in the compliance of stakeholders and on integrity on the part of Customs officers.
Speaking on the new guidelines on PAAR, Umar urged the stakeholders to take advantage of the time frame of January 31st 2014 given by the NCS to clear their consignments from the ports even as he warned that any under-declaration by importers or agents will lead to outright seizure of the consignments.
“Whatever you claim is on your RAR, if you know that is what is inside the container, make your declarations based on it. If you know you have already done an advice RAR because you don’t want to be caught up but you did not mention everything in the container, you have the opportunity to mention everything in your declaration. If you don’t do it, your container will be seized without apology and you will be prosecuted.
“If you have a RAR and you or your importer knows what he has in the container, please for your own sake declare it in your declaration, because if you don’t give that honest declaration either in terms of quantity, classification, don’t blame Customs, blame yourself.”