Illegal Arms: Importers Make False Declaration -NCS

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High Court
The Assistant Comptroller  Of Customs of Federal Operation Unit of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Mr. A. M. Adamu, on Wednesday, to a Federal High Court, Lagos, how five illegal importers 661 sophisticated pump action guns made false declaration on Customs Forms to bring in the arms into the country.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service had on June 14, 2017, arraigned  two Customs Office, Muhmud Hassan and Salisu Abdulahi Danjuma, alongside Oscar Orkafor, Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo and Matthew Okoye, before Justice Ayotunde Faji’s court, on charge bordering on illegal importation of fire arms, conspiracy, forgery and altering of documents, offering of graft to government officials and importation of prohibited goods.

The offences according to yhe prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye,  are contrary to  to and punishable under sections 3(6),1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And section 98(1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act.

At the resumed trial of the accused persons, the Assistant Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Adamu, while being led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Ajakaiye, told the court how the accused persons were arrested, and how the case was reported to the Department of State Security (DSS)

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Adamu particularly told the court that the importers apart from paying less duty, also lied in Customs declaration Form.

The head of Ikeja-Lagos’ FOU, said, “the total duty value for the items was $200, 000 USD, but in the declaration, what was laid was $150, 000 USD. They also declared that the good originated from China and Turkey’.

The witness stated further that “the importers listed 100 pieces of steel doors, 225 packages of steel doors valued at $13, 364 USD, at the exchange rate of N305 to one Dollar.

“I discovered a lots of discrepancies in Customs Declaration forms, each documents tells different stories’, the Customs Chief stated.

Adamu also told the court that, after his investigation, he informed the Comptroller-General of Customs, who directed him to DSS for further investigation, where he also made a statement.

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However, the defendants’ lawyers, who include:Yakubu Galadima, Adamu Abdulahi, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) and Dr. Paul Ananaba (SAN), were unable to cross-examine the witness on the ground that they were just served with the proof of evidence on Tuesday.

The lawyers, pleaded with the court for a short adjournment to enable them study the document.

Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Faji, adjourned the matter till tomorrow, (Thursday) for cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.

Among all the five accused persons, Matthew Okoye is said to still be at large.

AGF in charge number FHC/L/190c/17, alleged that the all the accused persons conspired with one another to illegally import into Nigeria 661 Pump Action Rifles.

They were also alleged to have forged the documents which
includes: two Bill of Ladings, one reads ‘Shanghai
China’, as Port of Loading, instead of ‘Istanbul’, and another one which reads: ‘Steel
Doors’, as the contents of the container instead oIm Customs’ Form M, Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) used in smuggling the the said 661 rifles Into the country.

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In particular, the one of the Customs Officials, Mahmud
Hassan, was alleged to corruptly offered the sum of N400, 000.00, to one Aliu Musa, the Examination Officer of the Federal Operation Unit of the Customs Service with an intent to prevent hundred percent search on a container marked PONU 825914/3, which was used in bringing into the country the said arms.

He was also alleged to have corruptly gave the sum of N1 million to Government officials at Apapa Port, through his colleague, Danjuma Abdulahi, in order to prevent the searching of the said container used in bringing in the 661 illegally imported Pump Action rifles.

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