…We Don’t Collect Wharf Landing At Seaport—Spokesman
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Lagos Stste Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority (LSWLFCA) have accused men of Nigeria Customs Service as well as other security agencies of aiding freight forwarders in avoiding payments of the wharf landing fee.
The agency has equally debunked insinuations in the media that its officials were collecting the wharf landing fee inside the port, and without receipt.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the agency, Mr Michael Opiteh, wharf landing fee is collected at designated points outside the port, after the cargo must have left.
Statutorily N200 is paid for cars and N500 for SUVs, collectable from agents and their principals.
Mr Opiteh in an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND NEWS on Thursday however alleged that Customs Officers most of the time help freight forwarders to drive already cleared vehicles from the port, so that they can escape payment of N200 wharf landing fee.
Opiteh said this act is equally being perpetrated by Military Officers, including Army Captains.
While narrating a recent confrontation with a Customs officer which steered controversy among freight forwarders, he said “The incident was caused by a Customs officer who insisted that we was not going to pay and he drove away”
“When he got to Area B police barracks, he was intercepted by our task force officers and we impounded the vehicle, a Toyota Corolla”
“The driver told our officials that he is a Customs officer and therefore he would not pay a dime”
“He later brought One Chukwudi Nwakwo who claim to be a freight forwarder, he came begging for us to release the vehicle, and that it belongs to his brother”
“The officer was not in uniform, after bringing Chukwudi to beg, he also went to bring NAGAFF Secretary General who said he is the secretary nationwide, but I told him that I do not have power to release the car except my chairman”
“The vehicle, a Toyota corolla is still in would custody right now, the car was impounded last week” he said
Opiteh noted that before leave the port, they must have paid customs duty, but wondered why Customs officials help freight forwarders in avoiding payment of N300.
Continuing he said “We don’t collect this fee at the seaport as erroneously reported in one of the media”
“Most of the freight forwarders, because they dont want to pay N300 for cars, and N500 for jeeps they would go and hire uniformed men to ride their car.
I saw a captain driving a cleared car from the port to avoid paying” he said.
Meanwhile, the authority has placed a penalty of N100, 000.00 for individual offenders trying to cheat the government, while corporate offenders pay N500, 000.00.