How Nigerians defraud foreign exporters-Customs agent

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A highly placed customs agent (names withheld) has exposed some unscrupulous importers who have been defrauding their overseas suppliers, exporters over the years.
The agent, a top member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA) disclosed that some Nigerian importers travel out to book for containers of goods running into millions of dollars, pay 30 percent of the cost and the goods are delivered to them.
He said that having paid 30 percent of the cost of the goods, the manufacturers (exporters) will go ahead and produce all that the importer has ordered, send them to Nigeria with a waybill only to lose the remaining balance of the cost of the goods.
According to the agent who was recently cleared by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) as one of the candidates for the Governing Council election said the fraudulent importers will on receiving the bill of lading and ensuring that the goods have arrived Nigerian ports refuse to clear them, so that the items will become overtime cargoes.
He disclosed that once the containers enter demurrage or become overtime cargo after staying 90 days in the ports, they will now send a message to their overseas suppliers (manufacturers) that the goods have been seized by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and that they cannot pay the balance of the goods.
The importers will now go through the back door, approach the Customs to buy the goods as overtime cargo by using other names.
The agent said this was the practice over the years until the administration of the present Comptroller-General of Customs, Rtd Col. Hammed Ali who stopped such auction sales and introduced e-auction which was also suspended.
The agent said his anger is that the importers have been soiling Nigeria’s image by defrauding some overseas exporters, mainly Chinese manufacturers.
He said that the former Customs Comptroller-generals may not have been aware of the fraud by the importers, adding that if they did, they may not have allowed the importers to buy such overtime goods back.
He told SHIPPING DAY “The CGC (Ali) as you know is not a core officer, but he is trying. There are certain things he has embarked upon that is good and I give him kudos. Like selling of auction has stopped. There is a way, may be he wants to do it, he has not started but in the past, I will give you an example of some importers that will go to overseas, they will book up to 40-50 containers valued at millions of dollars and they will pay only 30 percent only to come back and will not like to pay the rest. The white man will produce the whole thing, then ship, send the copy of bill of lading for you to pay the 70 percent, you will not pay. That was what was happening in the past regime.
They will allow it to enter demurrage and the goods will be seized and they will now go back and buy them from Customs as auction.
But this present regime killed that thing(such fraud). So, I give him (Ali) kudos for that. If you want to make money, make money genuinely not duping people to make yourself rich. It is too bad”.

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