Auctioneers across the country have raised alarm, as they accused the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) of illegally selling about 6,000 impounded vehicles and other items to selected people, and companies.
The Customs, according to the alarmists, conducted the auction of the vehicles without open competitive bidding as it’s enshrined in the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Act, 2007.
The auctioned vehicles were said to have been branded as scraps and sold at giveaway prices through direct auction allocations.
“So far, about 6,000 vehicles have been sold to their cronies through the so-called direct auction allocation. The vehicles, which could have fetched the government huge revenue, were sold as scraps at giveaway prices.
“We all know that it is a ploy to enrich their favoured contractors at the expense of the government. The government is being denied the revenue it would have realised from open competitive auctions. If this government is serious, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali should be answering tough questions from either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or the National Assembly by now,” an auctioneer was quoted as saying.
Another reliable source, who spoke on the matter on a condition of anonymity, stated that instead of selling the confiscated goods through public auctions as mandated by the law, the NCS had been selecting the dealers it sells to.
What the BPP Act says
- Section 55 (3) (5) of the BPP Act stipulates that open competitive bidding shall be the primary source of receiving offers for the purchase of any public property offered for sale.
- For the purposes of this Act, public property is defined as resources in the form of tangible and non-tangible assets (ranging from serviceable to the unserviceable).
Is Customs seling impounded vehicles as scraps?
While BizWatch Nigeria could not independently verify the claims, a report published a letter from the NCS to a company, AMEX West Africa Limited and dated March 25, 2022.
In the letter, with reference number: NCS/ADM/MGT/012/S.2/C, signed by the Chairman, Direct Disposal of Scraps Committee, Comptroller A.D Sanusi, was titled, ‘Direct auction allocation of scrap vehicles and other items,’ it was indicated therein that 338 vehicles were sold for N3,380,000 through direct auction allocation in Abuja.
It read, ‘’I am directed to inform you that the Comptroller-General of Customs, acting on the provisions of Customs and Exercise Management (Disposal of goods) Act, CAP C46, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, hereby allocates the under-listed 338 lots of various scrap vehicles domiciled at Katsina State Area Command to your company as auction sales for the purpose of disposal, smelting and fabrication into raw materials for production valued at N3,380,000 only.
“All vehicles disposed of must be evacuated from the premises within 10 working days after payment or risk forfeiture. Furthermore, you are to note the following: Application for replacement of allocated vehicles would not be entertained. All allocation letters transferred or sold by the allottee to a third party shall be at the buyer’s risk.’’