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fraudsters thwarted customs auction how e banks

How Banks, Fraudsters Thwarted Customs E-auction
How banks, fraudsters thwarted Customs ex auction
How banks, fraudsters thwarted Customs e-auction
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) launched its electronic auction on July 3, 2017, on a happy note, believing it was giving tax payers equal chance of bidding for seized items and overtime cargoes.
At exactly 12:00 noon, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) declared the bidding platform,, open, noting that it was to last for 48 hours after which successful winners for the first around would be announced.
Shortly after, many complaints began to trail the process as eligible bidders who had their Tax Identification Number (TIN) validated by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) said they could not continue to the stage of bidding after login-in to the system.
A quick survey of the complaints which went on for the first two weeks of the exercise pointed to the fact that most banks that the Customs said had declared their readiness to participate before the platform was commissioned, had not connected to the site. Then, there was the issue of overbidding believed to be fraudulent.
Some participants of the electronic auction platform who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday lamented their inability to access some features and make payments on the website, especially the embedded e-wallet system.
Speaking with our reporter, a participant, Mr Alex Odugbo, in Abuja, said despite his valid Tax Identification Number (TIN), he had issues recharging his e-wallet.
“I cannot complete the e-wallet funding step and that means I am cut off from bidding. The banks are having issues doing this e-wallet process,” he said.
Equally, Mr Kayode Damusa, a resident in New Karu area of Nasarawa State attributed his challenge to poor network, saying he could not connect to the server to complete his process.
The Service spokesman, Mr Joseph Attah, admitted the e-wallet link-up challenge.
He noted that the 23 Customs duty collecting banks were trained and involved in the user acceptability test of the platform along with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Throughout this period, no bank indicated any problem with the platform. However, upon launch of the platform,, only Jaiz Bank was discovered to be ready and active on the platform,” he said.
The Customs Service spokesman said to address this, it wrote to the other banks requesting them to “integrate with the e-auction application for the recharging of e-wallet”.
He added that another letter was sent to the CBN, seeking to confirm the readiness of the commercial banks. In the update, Attah said the Service was told the banks are still sorting out ‘‘technical problem to hook up to the platform.”
Despite hitches, bidders emerge
The Service said despite the challenges, 43 winners emerged in the first 48 hours of the bidding period. The NCS uploaded 130 vehicles, from which 43 were bided for and won.
“While 282 people registered, 268 were enabled to generate e-wallet assessment. Out of 177 that recharged their e-wallets, 68 bided and 43 emerged as winners,” The Customs authourities said.
After the second round of bidding, Customs said it recorded 115 winners. The Service noted that the second round showed improvement over the first. NCS also generated N25.3 million from the auction of 158 vehicles which was apparently through Jaiz Bank alone. Data provided on the third round of the exercise indicated 2,001 bidders registered of which 1,919 were been enabled to bid for the items.
The Service congratulated winners who have paid and collected their vehicles and looks forward to promptly releasing more items to winners.
Ali summons banks’ chiefs, says its sabotage
The many complaints forced the CGC, Col. ,Ali to summon top bank executives to the Customs headquarters in Abuja to resolve the lag that deprived many Nigerians of participating in the auction process.

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