01 May 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — IN a bid to ensure that the auctioning of seized goods is not compromised, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has set up auction Committees at various commands across the country just as it barred officers of the Service and their family members from the bid process.
Confirming this to the media in Lagos last week, spokesman of the Tin Can Port Command of Customs, Mr. Uche Ejesieme said that a circular has been issued from the Customs headquarters to all commands for the constitution of a ‘auction committee’
He also said that the online auction to be commenced by the Service is not open to customs officers and their family members.
Ejesieme said that the duty of the auction committees is to compile the list of cargoes seized at their command and forward it to the headquarters.
He noted that since the auction processed was stopped in 2015 with the exit of former customs boss, Abdullahi Inde Dikko, some of the commands have been overflowing with seized cargoes.
“A committee has been set up at all commands and have been asked to compile the consignments in their commands and send them to headquarters so that by the time they open the portal people would start to bid”
“We want to ensure that what they are bidding for is actually on ground”
“Since 2015 that Dikko left, the action has stopped and some of the commands would have been overflowing with seized consignments” he said.
He explained that Customs is trying to modify and sanitize the process to make it more credible and transparent.
He further explained that everybody is eligible for the online auction except customs officers and their families.
According to him, a major clause in the online auction process is that “once you bid for an auction and it is given to you, it is expected of you to pay up within five days failure which the particular consignment goes back to pre-billing status”.
“Also, after payment, you would be given 14 days to evacuate your cargo from the port failure of which it returns to prebidding status, these terms are clear and unambiguous”
“In those days it was done secretly, so government in its wisdom has decided to make it more transparent”
“Once you pay what is stated in your auction paper there is no other payment required”
“Before now, we believe that there are certain grey areas that needed to be fine tuned and this is why we are coming up with this electronic format so that once you are a Nigerian, for you to access the platform, you must be a tax payer and your TIN number. It is the TIN number that would give you access” he said.