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N15m hidden under car seats

By The Citizen
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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted over N15 million cash hidden under the seats and footmats of a car with three nationals of Niger Republic. The Nigeriens were nabbed while entering the country. Apparently aware that the trunk of the car would be searched at the various checkpoints, the smart Nigeriens neatly stashed the cash where security agents hardly check.

Comptroller of Customs in-charge of Katsina/Kaduna Area Command, Yusuf Umar, who paraded the suspects identified as Abdulrasheed Usman (22), his brother Salisu (21), and Bishir Abdullahi (30), before newsmen in Katsina at the weekend, confirmed that nothing was found in the boot of the suspects' car, a Honda Academy, with Nigerian registration number, ABUJA ABJ 602 AE, when they were intercepted at Makera checkpoint on Jibia -Katsina road. Mr. Umar stated that the suspects, who could be financial agents of a Bureau De Change operator, took a bush path into Nigeria to evade scanning machines of the Customs Service at Jibia international border.

He said the non-declaration of the cash carried by the suspects was contrary to the provisions of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, which states that transportation of cash or negotiable instruments in excess of USD10,000 or its equivalent by individuals in or out of the country shall be declared to the Nigeria Customs Service. He stated that the suspects contravened the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) of 2004 and the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act by failing to declare amount to officers of the Customs.

According to him, the relevant provisions of the Act were aimed at prohibiting financing of terrorism and laundering of the proceeds of a crime or an illegal act. 'The claim of these suspects in this case that they are financial agents to Yaura BDP of Wapa, Kano, makes them liable. Who is Yaura BDP, Wapa? Our investigation is ongoing to ascertain the depth of involvement and occupational identity of the suspects.

'The alibi of collecting the money in Jibiya while not travelling with a Nigerian companion cannot hold water. It is my sincere belief that the Nigeria Customs Service and other relevant sister agencies will get to the root of this matter so as to ascertain the purpose for the movement of this money,' the Comptroller said in a prepared statement made available to reporters. (SUN)