Customs abandon e-platform for vehicle auction – Agents

d comptroller general of the nigeria customs service col. hameed ali retd
d comptroller general of the nigeria customs service col. hameed ali retd

The Nigeria Customs Service may have abandoned the e-auction platform for the auctioning of imported vehicles and adopted LOT, findings have revealed.

Agents operating in the Ikorodu government warehouse, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Lagos on Wednesday, accused the service of allocating LOT to people without considering practitioners.

LOT is a number used to identify unserviceable vehicles for auction.

It will be recalled that the NCS a few years ago announced plans for electronic auctioning of overtime cargoes including vehicles in the ports.

The platform enables interested persons to bid for the goods online and the winner of the bid buys the goods.

But a few years down the line, the service may have jettisoned the platform.

The Ikorodu chapter Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Martin Ikechukwu, said that the warehouse was still full of abandoned rickety vehicles and other consignments.

He, however, claimed that the service had issued LOT to some persons for the vehicles, which he described as scraps.

He explained that the people given the LOT allocation by the service at a cheaper rate were reselling the same LOT at exorbitant prices.

“What they did was to start clearing those ones as LOT. They are scrap. Some of them do not have brainboxes or tyres and many have been destroyed because they are abandoned. Now, Customs is selling them on LOT paper. You will see these cars for N50, 000 or N70,000 but when those people from Abuja come down to Lagos and want to resell them, they sell them from N3.5m upwards.”

Ikechukwu accused the NSC of not making the allocation of the LOT open for all to participate.

“The allocation of the LOT was not open. If it was open, they would have advertised it or put it on air. But we didn’t hear about it from anywhere. We just noticed that a committee came and examined the whole thing. They wrote LOT on those cars and went back to Abuja. Suddenly, we saw people bringing in papers from Abuja, wanting to resell them.”

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The ANLCA Ikorodu boss said that in the allocation of the LOT papers, some people got 30 allocations.

“How can one person have like 30-40 papers of LOT of government property? Is it not supposed to be based on bidding? You can only win one or two at the same time and not 30 for one person. They have a cabal that enjoys the place. When the people come to Lagos, they will be telling you that they settled to get the LOT papers in Abuja,” he mentioned.

Corroborating Ikechukwu, the Ikorodu chapter Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Edmond Nwosu, expressed concern that LOT may be an avenue for the holders of the paper to defraud Nigerians.

“The issue is that the people that got the allocation, I don’t know how they did it but they are calling prices like N3m and above to get the LOT for vehicles that are scrap. Now the fear is that they might use it to dupe some people by presenting a picture that the vehicle is good while the vehicle is a scrap. It doesn’t worth the amount they are calling and at the end of the day, it will fall back on us,” he said.

 According to him, “The people with the LOT were here two weeks ago.  They are selling and some are doing the documentation. The Customs are not doing e-auctioning. They do that through LOT”

 Meanwhile, in his response, the National Public Relations Officer, NSC, Timi Bomodi, denied the allegations.

 “There is nothing like that in Ikorodu,” he claimed.

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