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NAGAFF tasks freight forwarders on integrity in declaration, vows to expose corrupt officers

The National
Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, has warned
practitioners against false declaration while clearing goods for clients.

It also restated
that the customs leadership has failed in addressing the issue of corruption
involving officers at the ports and border stations.
Chairman, Anti-
Corruption Unit, NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche, in a statement, noted that the advice
had become necessary because 75 per cent of information uploaded for the
purposes of issuance of PAAR were false.
Uche warned that
NAGAFF would not want to intervene in any situation where a member contravenes
the law and wants assistance.
He advised members
to do the right thing in order not to suffer any punishment from the Customs.
The statement reads
in part that: “In the instance wherein well over 75 per cent of information
uploaded for the purposes of issuance of PAAR is false, those who are concerned
are hereby advised and their attention called to the provisions of the Customs
laws.
“NAGAFF
henceforth may not wish to intervene in such matters before the Customs in
times of arrest for wrong description of import. It is professionally wrong to
obtain a PAAR with items which are not to be found in the containers during
Customs examination.
“Wherein a freight
forwarder still has the opportunity to make honest declaration in the single
entry declaration form for Customs purposes, it is still very important that
the right thing should be done from the beginning by informing the PAAR ruling centre
the exact content of the container.
“It
may be true that the Customs have decided to punish offenders of non disclosure
of items to the extent that if what is entered in the PAAR is not found in the
containers such container may be seized or the PAAR may be deemed not to be
issued for that particular container.
“We therefore wish
to warn all NAGAFF members to imbibe the principles of best practices in
carrying out their statutory duties. A freight forwarder must be a person of
honour and integrity at all times.
“The way forward is
to be law abiding and we must always conduct ourselves in the best manner with
due respect to rule of law and regulations guiding international business and Customs
facilitation in Nigeria.”
The
association also warned that it would report any agent of the government trying
to extort money from practitioners while clearing their goods.
Uche expressed
concern that the Comptroller General of Customs , Retired Col. Hammed Ali, was
yet to address the issue of corruption against officers in the ports and border
stations.
The statement said,
“However we owe it a duty and responsibility to report any agent of the Government
who tries to use his office to intimidate and extort money from freight agents.
“There are
allegations that a particular officer at Ports and Cargo has been in the habit
of extorting money from agents even when the Customs examiners have properly
released the cargo.
“We are keeping an eye
in that officer and we shall make further statements in that regard. “It is
most unfortunate and regrettable that the CGC, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, (Rtd)
is yet to address issues of this nature with regard to corruption in the
Customs ports and approved border stations.”

The
association urged the Customs boss to adopt measures that will continue to
promote and encourage trade than anti-trade actions, adding that, “ it is on
record that PAAR is advisory, the relevance of Sections 27, 28 and 29 shall
continue to be utilized in favour of Customs clearance in the absence of
adequate documents.”

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