By Ambrose Okehi
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has said it has not abandoned the electronic auction (e-auction) it introduced a year ago.
The service made this denial through an interview granted by the national Public Relations Officer (PRO), Joseph Attah to shipping Position newspaper (one of the maritime publications, not MARITIME NEWSROOM recently.
The NCS’s image maker also shifted the blame of the delay in the process to the judicial processes, alleging that the court is to be blamed for whatever and should be held responsible for the apparent delays in auctioning seized items through the platform, not Customs.
Recall that Customs’ electronic auctioning of seized goods was introduced by the management of the Nigeria Customs Service mid last year in order to ensure transparency in the whole auctioning processes.
Giving clearer explanations, the national PRO specifically noted that until court makes legal pronouncement on seized goods, the Nigeria Customs does not have the right to auction such items or even sample them for auctioning.
He added that the service is not in the position to dictate for the court when or when not to make such pronouncement nor even the duration for such legal pronouncement or processes.
”The e-auction platform has been developed, it is alive and active, we started auctioning vehicles including some containerized seizures, you know anytime something is seized it goes through a judicial processes. Customs is not in the position to dictate the duration it will take to close the case in the court. So until the court makes pronouncement on these items and forfeits them to the federal government, we don’t have the right to post them for auctioning,” Attah said.
Giving further explanations on why most of the seized goods are yet to be auctioned, the national image maker of the service said: ”So a lot of people will come and say see many things are here and customs are not uploading them, you don’t just upload somebody’s property when it has not been judicially disposed off.”
He pointed that the service is up and doing in all its responsibilities and won’t in anyway relent anytime it has goods to auction to the public.
”The e-auction platform is alive and active, anytime we have items that have been condemned by the court and forfeited to the Federal Government, we will auction them. The e-auction platform is a continuous process, if there something to be auctioned, we will upload.”
Mr Attah also denied the allegation that the service is only auctioning vehicles and not containerized goods.
”Now coming to the issues of containers, in the past we have auctioned some containerized items but of course the process is still on when it comes to overtime, we will use it. Overtime cargoes are mostly containers, when it comes to that time you will be seeing more of the containers that time,” the PRO assured.
On those who are interested in participating in the auction process, he called on interested individuals to log on the platform of the service on Mondays and Wednesdays every week to participate.
”We have said this over and over again that interested persons should check our website every Monday from 12noon till Wednesday from 12noon every week, if there is something you will see it,” the image maker pointed out.