4th February, 2023
By Esther Komolafe
Some officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, rejected a whooping sum of $150, 000 bribe from die-hard smugglers to stop the smuggling of $6 million fake dollar notes intercepted at Seme border out of the country.
Recall that Customs officers of Seme Border Command had on the 31, January 2023, intercepted $6 million fake currency bills at Gbaji Customs check point in Lagos. They also seized the international passports of the fake currency syndicate operating in the axis.
Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi revealed this while displaying the fake currencies to journalists at Seme Border command on Thursday during a press briefing.
He also confirmed that the seizure was made at Gbaji checkpoint.
According to him, the smugglers had offered the customs officers a bribe of $150,000.00 authentic dollar notes through the head of the team, Musa Istifanus Datsok to allow them take the fake currency out of the country.
But he said the bribe was rejected by the officers.
Nnadi said the seizure was disturbing and dangerous, especially given the fact that the general election is around the corner.
He said that four suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.
He added that on the same day, at about 0530 hours, officers on patrol along Gbetrome base intercepted six Maltese International Passports, all carrying picture of a lady, but with different names.
He added that two Senegalese International Passports, three Togolese International Passports four Republic of Benin International Passports, one Republic of Niger International Passport and 10 International Driving License of various countries have also been seized from two male suspects who are in custody pending further investigation.
He listed other items seized by the Command to include 1,300 by 30 liters jerry can of PMS equivalent 39,000 liters roughly over one fuel tanker of PMS with duty paid value of N9, 366.45 million only.
Other items seized include 55 sacks containing 550 pieces of donkey skin with duty paid value of N11.371.511.
“Some of these currencies bear the same serial number, and besides that, it will be very difficult for you to identify them as fake.
“Similar to this, we also arrested just few hours after this, two other passengers in a different vehicle, while searching them, we discovered some international passports that belong to Malta Republic.
“All the six passports we got bear the same photographs of the same person, but with different names.
“The passport belongs to the republic of Malta, but bears the photograph of someone who appears to be an European and bearing different names for all the six passports.
“The same lady also has six international driver’s licenses bearing her photograph with six different names which shows that we are dealing with a very serious syndicate that moves across the borders,” Compt Nnadi.
“We suspect that it is a syndicate that is involved in cross border criminality. We also know that the election is around the corner and with this development, it is a dangerous trend.
“For the currency we have two suspects and for the international passports we also have two suspects”
Also speaking on the seizure, the Controller, Seme Command of Nigeria Immigration Service, Dr M.C Dike said the passport must be related to an international criminal syndicate.
“It is possible for you to have a dual nationality, but from his explanation, it is clear that the suspects are international syndicates indulged in criminal behaviours.
“The seizure and the amount of money that have being seized marvel me. We are talking about billions of naira. These are criminals moving across the borders and this is the implication for us” he said.