CUSTOMS RELEASES NEW GUIDELINES ON DISPOSAL OF SEIZED, OVERTIME GOODS
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has approved a new procedure for the disposal of seized and overtime goods in its bid to address some of the perceived irregularities relating to the past procedure including fake online auctions.
Consequently the NCS confirmed that it is setting up four different committees to handle the disposal of these categories of goods. The committees include an Assessment Committee, Disposal Committee, Seizure Committee and Overtime Committee.
According to the new guidelines signed by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), perishable items with or without defendants are to be properly disposed of by the relevant committee.
For goods classified as general goods, the new guidelines stated that these are to be disposed of after condemnation by a competent court of law: “Condemnation shall be done after 30 days of seizure, so far as there is no notice of claim or litigation.”
The guidelines also stipulated that all overtime cargoes are to be published in the Federal Government’s gazette when they fall due over 30 days.
Under the new dispensation, the NCS will advertise information on seized and overtime goods for disposal with their reserve prices in the media and on its official website. The authorities enjoined interested buyers to apply online, specifying items of interest to the committee on disposal, adding that applications must be accompanied with an approved means of identification such as a National Identity card, International Passport or Driver’s Licence, in addition to a recent passport photograph scanned onto the dedicated portal on the website.
The guidelines further explained that successful applicants will be required to make payment within 14 days of notification through designated banks at the area commands where the goods are domiciled. Any returns on disposals would need to be rendered to the Comptroller-General not later than 21 days after completion of each exercise. The NCS however pointed out that the Disposal Committee, subject to the approval of the Comptroller-General, might use its discretion in handling peculiar cases.
The Assessment Committee shall consist of not less than five officers of high integrity including valuation officers at all area commands supervised by the Zonal Co-ordinator. The committee shall undertake inspection, collation and fixing of prices of all goods on monthly basis and is to forward its report to the Auction Committee. The guidelines also tasked the Seizure Committee and Overtime Committee with the responsibility of handling the disposal of overtime and seized goods. “The Seizure Committee shall comprise of representatives of all departments of the NCS, including representatives of headquarters not below the rank of assistant controllers or its equivalent,” the guidelines stated.
The Overtime Committee on the other hand will be made up of 16 members and consist of the Assistant Comptroller General Enforcement, representatives from Director, Legal (NCS), Federal Ministry of Finance, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, civil organization, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and a representative from the Accountant General of the Federation’s office. Others include a representative each from the National Security Adviser, Directorate of Security Services, Valuation (NCS), Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Nigeria Ports Authority, Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Standards Organisation of Nigeria and Chief of Defence Staff.