Customs arrest 15 for rebagging foreign rice to beat anti-smuggling fight [PHOTO]

October 22, 2019
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The Adamawa/Taraba Zonal Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has arrested 15 members of a syndicate that specialize in importing foreign rice and rebagging it as local rice.

The Zonal Comptroller of the Command, Karmadeen Olumoh, who addressed newsmen on Tuesday, said the rice rebagging syndicate routinely empties bags of foreign rice into Nigeria-branded bags and passes them off as local rice.

The Customs controller reiterated that the practice, indulged mainly to beat efforts to control sale of foreign rice in Adamawa markets, contravenes Federal Government’s rice import ban and actually frustrates moves by anti-smuggling agents to mop up foreign rice from the markets.

Karmadeen Olumoh who conducted newsmen to the rice rebagging warehouse in the state capital, Yola, told the newsmen, “In our continuous efforts towards sustaining the fight against smuggling, officers and men of the Adamawa/Taraba Command, in conjunction with Federal Operation Unit and Taskforce, stumbled on this warehouse.

“What we have here is foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country. What they are doing here is to repackage. They open the bags of foreign rice and empty them into local-branded bags.

“We have here about 900 bags of rice, each 50 kg. The duty paid value is M14.5 million.
We have arrested 15 suspects, including the manager, the warehouse owner and 12 labourers.”

In a separate development, the Command intercepted a truck containing bags of rice and beans.

The truck was seized from people who passed the consignment as 450 bags of beans, but which contained more foreign rice than supposed locally grown beans.

Explaining findings by his men, the Customs Zonal Comptroller said, “They told us that the vehicle had 450 bags of beans, but after 100% inspection, we found that there were 300 bags of 50kg bags of beans piled over 150 bags of 150kg bags of imported rice.”

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