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January 5, 2024
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Ogun: Customs releases N24m intercepted with smuggled rice to Access bank

 A bullion van intercepted 22 months ago for carrying 12 bags of 50kg smuggled foreign parboiled rice including the sum of over 24 million naira have been released by officials of the Nigeria customs service. 

The van, with registration number, FKJ 993 BZ was on the 22 April 2022 impounded alongside the sum of N24,489,500.00 belonging to the Abeokuta branch of Access bank.

 The Area Controller Ogun 2 Command, Comptroller Olusola Alade disclosed this to newsmen on Friday while handing over the bullion van and money to officials of Bankers Warehouse and Access Bank in Abeokuta. 

According to him, the bullion van which belongs to Bankers Warehouse Ltd. was impounded in April 2022 by operatives of Joint Border Patrol team along Sokoto-ljoun/Joga road, Abeokuta axis of the state.

Alade noted that the action of the service followed final investigation which revealed that the bullion van in question was not being used for illegal border activities at the time of interception in 2023 .

He explained that it relied on section 168 of Nigeria Customs Service, Act , 2023 which empowers the  Comptroller General of Customs to release seized items on compassionate ground if it is established that the purpose  was not intended  to convey contraband goods.

 “On 22 April 2022, Officers and Men of Joint Border Patrol Team at the Olorunda axis of Ogun State, intercepted the used Bullion Van with Reg. No. FKY 993 BZ found to have concealed some bags of foreign parboiled rice and N24,489,500.00, along the Sokoto-ljoun/Joga road, Abeokuta axis of Ogun State.

“The foreign parboiled rice which were 12 bags of 50kg each were carefully concealed in the said vehicle.

“Consequently, the said vehicle and the items were conveyed to the Customs House, Abeokuta for safekeeping. After conducting examination on the vehicle, the said amount of money was discovered and deposited at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Abeokuta branch for safekeeping.

“The vehicle was detained while the rice was converted to seizure in line with Section 168 of Nigeria Customs Service Act, 2023.

“In connection to the above seizures, three suspects were arrested, detained, granted administrative bail and subsequently charged to court for aiding smuggling.

“In a bid to retrieve the detained Bullion Van and the money, the Bankers Warehouse Ltd and Access Bank wrote an appeal letter to the Comptroller General of Customs for release on compassionate ground.

“Based on the outcome of investigation and recommendations of the Investigation Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Comptroller General of Customs granted an approval for the release of the detained van and the money in line with the provision of Section 248 (1) and (2) of NCS Act, 2023.”

In another development, a total number of 18 officers of the command were promoted and decorated by comptroller Alade, who urged the newly promoted officers to be professional in the discharge of their duties. 

Alade added that a total revenue of N21.657billion was generated in the year 2023 by the Command.

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