Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ex-Custom CG, Dikko’s boy in Corruption racketeering @ Customs Valuation Unit, Apapa—Lagos

By on 16:07
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A Newspaper Caption of ex-Customs CG, Dikko's achievement in Nigeria's Customs Services

It will appear that the new decision by the Federal Government under Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to create a suitable atmosphere for the ease of business transaction in Nigeria and make business easy for investors coming into the country is meeting a brick wall at the valuation unit of the Nigerian Customs Services (Apapa) according to very disturbed sources who confided in this blog.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had on Thursday 15th of June signed three executive orders with the potential to significantly change some of the ways government business and operations are conducted in the country.  This was contained in a statement by Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the acting President.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo....Sets new rules for business transaction in Government Agencies

The signing ceremony came with an interactive session at the old Banquet Hall of Presidential Villa—Abuja,  with all relevant government officials, including ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of departments and agencies. The session was held to directly engage government officials, who would be in charge of the implementation of the orders and the new instructions.
The executive orders also stipulate sanctions and punitive measures for violations. The three orders signed by Mr. Osinbajo provide specific instructions on a number of policy issues affecting the ease of doing business in the Nigeria, support for local content in public procurement by the Federal Government, and timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all government agencies, including companies owned by the Federal Government.
Nigeria Custom Service...Is there Justice and Honesty?

However, very disturbed sources close to the Nigerian Customs Services at the Apapa port, Lagos are pointing accusing fingers at a senior custom official who has allegedly made business very difficult for many Nigerians in the last couple of months.  The culture of this bulky man is said to be an offshoot of the old regime of former Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Services, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko who is presently going through investigation by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission after returning a whooping N1 billion Naira loot and over 15 exotic cars which he illegally made from fraudulent practices drawn from the proceeds of the 7% cost of collection and one percent comprehensive supervision scheme  of the Nigerian Customs during his tenure between August 2009 and August, 2015.
New Customs CG, Colonel Al-Hameed Ali....An Anti-Corruption Czar in his own right
One of the Presidential order signed by the Acting President deals with the ease of doing business in all government organizations in Nigeria; the statement said, “mandates all Federal Government ministries, agencies and departments to henceforth publish a complete list of all requirements or conditions for obtaining products and services within their scope of their responsibility”. These, it explained, will include permits, licenses, waivers, tax-related processes, filings and approvals.
Old Custom's CG...Abdulai Dikko, his regime breed corruption?
However, sources claimed the fraudulent character who is said to have been recently posted to the unit from Abuja and who is said to be due for retirement next year is giving a lot of importers head ache as he has suddenly become a thorn in the flesh of local and foreign investors who are made to sign outrageous Debit Notes on goods imported for clearance. In fact, his nefarious and worrisome activities in conjunction with some other faceless senior officers is said to be one of the reasons why commodities have soared high in the market place as what he obtains from importers is quite outrageous and erodes the gain interest on the commodities after being made to spend weeks at the port with accumulated demur-rage charges.
 Either in line with an obnoxious revenue generation culture or selfish personal interest, this character who held a very sensitive position under the immediate past Custom CG (In fact, he is said to be one of his trusted boys in the custom) with a name that starts with the 19th letter of the English alphabet and ends with the first letter, is alleged to not be only corrupt but absolutely wicked in his discretion abilities with investors and customers who pass through his office.
Dikko, will his boys in the Custom be in soup like him?
 This character who hails from a state in Northern Nigeria where a former customs top shot who later became a top politician at the presidency between 1999 and 2007, is alleged to be in the high cadre of DC and might have decided to take corruption in the organization to next level due to his quest to retire rich next year.
Our man is said to have carved out several strategies of extorting heavy sums of money from business men and foreigners alike by using several fronts to collect bribes from importers; one of his boys who shares a first name with a former EFCC chairman and who is his closest aide at the unit is said to be a front.
EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu....Mide need to widen his dragnet to the Nigerian Customs Service
Reports from many victims describe his activities as worrisome as some affected customers are already petitioning the EFCC and other relevant government agencies to help look into the nefarious activities of this officer who seems to be in a haste to gather wealth before his retirement next year. A female source who hinted us said ‘Oga’s wife equally runs a big supermarket in a popular area of Abuja (Name deliberately withheld) and she is equally into contracts and other businesses’.
Some of the Custom License Clearing agents at Apapa sea port are said to be planning to petition higher authorities on the nefarious conducts of the man as some already got documents to nail him especially from his nefarious transactions. His modus operandi is to allegedly create fear in the minds of customers who seek clearance paper from his office to clear their goods from the port. He is said to be in the habit of over estimating the prices of products imported (bulk cargo) and he will later make such a customer to sign an outrageous Debit note that in most cases escalates prices of such products by over four hundred percent. Once such a confused importer is still pleading that Oga lessens the charges on his goods, he refuses and gives the importer some un-meet able time frame to clear the goods, which will eventually waste his time, get his products prolonged at the port and mess his business income as he is looking for cash to pay his DN. The final result is that such products which are in most cases used for manufacturing purposes leads to high prices of consumable goods in the market place as many Nigerians can’t afford to purchase such products.
Customs CG, MC Ali...Might need to redeploy more officers for a corruption free Customs Service
According to another frustrated importer who spoke to us on condition of anonymity “No imports declaration form passes through his table without been queried under the pretense of low value or certain benchmark price. He will just give you a figure by his own discretion even though he didn’t follow you to the market to purchase the product. I do not believe this man is projecting the values of the federal Government”.
Another horrible tendency of this bulky character according to disturbed sources is his ability to stroll into his office at either 12Pm (Noon) or 1pm when many importers would have been waiting to see him since 7am in the morning. He is said to be fond of telling people to allow him change from his native dress to his official fatigue before he start calling for them one-by-one and some will not leave until he leaves later in the evening.  People are said to wait for several hours in his office for solution to their businesses.
In most cases, according to sources, business men who have spent lot of time with the best part of their day wasted at the Valuation Office become very angry and for those that are not willing to grease his palm with the huge amount demanded by him hidden under a cocky countenance, they end up becoming his victim and given an outrageous DN (Debit Note) which runs into millions of Naira and in most cases not in tandem with the genuine cost of the goods they imported.  Such unlucky Nigerians will equally not be allowed to protest their fate compared to demur-rage acquired on their goods.
Our man is equally said to be fond of frequenting the office of the Custom Area Comptroller (Name withheld) frequently, keeping customers stranded and worried before he finally launches them into a cruel fate through his crocked charges.
Another source who claims that his matter is already being filed for investigation with the EFCC confirmed to us that this crude Oga does not collect cash but has several bureau-DE-change agents that he asks his victims to pay through their bank accounts at a first generation bank and the money will now get back to him in dollars “We have documents of such transactions with us and we are disappointed that such thing is happening under this government” claimed another embittered source.

Speaking to this blog on condition of anonymity, another source, a clearing agent who claimed to have lost valuable businesses over our man's corrupt acts, hinted that in the past, there used to be a vetting unit under the valuation unit but for a long time ago, protest letters by clearing agents or other business men complaining about the outrageous sums of money demanded in the name of benchmark by the valuation unit are often delayed and frustrated by the unit as customers are left to look for monies to pay the outrageous benchmark fee and equally face stiff economic penalties for delayed goods (Demurage). "I think the vetting unit and the valuation unit work together" complained the source. "I think the best thing is for the new Comptroller General to overhaul all the units under the valuation department so that we can bring in new officers if possible, officers trusted by the CG in order for business to be transparent and easy for Nigerians at the Apapa Port. Everything should be transparent not putting it in the hands of few unscrupulous officers. This guy is destroying businesses with his nefarious activities here and it is a pity that he is a Nigerian" 
Another source claimed that many foreign investors who have passed through that unit of the Nigerian Customs have sad tales to tell as they are naturally not wired to paying bribe for transactions that ought to be normal duty.
President Muhammad Buhari....Hates Corruption with a Passion

Another source who spoke to us on the nefarious activity of this corrupt custom officer wants the office of the Comptroller General of Customs to investigate the matter due to the brazen nature our man arrives work late in the day, at 12pm with people
(customers) queuing to see him from 7am. “He doesn't sit in his office” the source told us. “He can go to the Area Comptroller office more than 50 times in a day. He is one of the corrupt Officers that is creating problem in that port and chasing away investors from Nigeria. How can you get a product for let’s say N200 naira and someone is telling you to clear it with N1000? Is that a profitable venture? Why are we so callous unto ourselves in this country? I think he should be investigated thoroughly because even the Area comptroller cannot call him to order despite series of complaints registered at the Area Comptroller office” the source lamented.
“We want the Comptroller General (Mr. Ali) who is an incorrigible man to look into that unit and prosecute the fraudulent activities there. This man must not be allowed to enrich himself at the expense of genuine business men who toil hard to make their living and create businesses that generate employment for Nigerians. Because whatever cost that importers incurred in the course of paying his excessive bribes, it is the Nigerian consumers that bears the brunt,  I think he has task force mentality and he is a task force Officer and not a revenue generating officer. We want him investigated and if possible called to order or redeployed because a lot of people have become his victims” lamented our source.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

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