- As T.B Josua insists: “I’ve no foreign account”
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has lambasted a sister association; the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), alleging that its (NAGAFF) members were responsible for most of the illegalities going on at the various Customs Direct Traders Input (DTI) cafes.
ANLCA has equally warned the freight forwarders to stop crying more than the bereaved by kicking against plans by Nigeria Customs Service to close DTI cafes and grant passwords to owners of customs license. In a press release made available to Shipping Position Daily by the National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA; Kayode Farinto yesterday, the association noted that issuing licensed customs agents with passwords will stop the illegalities being perpetrated on their behalf by “criminals claiming to be freight forwarders”.
Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) had said that the service is shutting down all cafes, because most of them were being used to perform illegalities and hacking of clearing agents’ practicing licenses.
But ANLCA yesterday said, “one wonders why an association that claims to be for freight forwarders should be crying more than the bereaved, that licensed customs agents should not be issued with password” “We at this end have been making efforts that our licenses must be protected by the board of Nigeria Customs Service and we are happy that the various DTI Cafes where lots of illegalities are being perpetrated using our licenses names will be proscribed, it goes a long way in sanitizing the maritime industry”.
“We as trade experts should be able to monitor our licenses from any acts of criminality from the impostors”, it said. The association stressed further that shutting the DTI cafes does not pose any danger, because freight forwarders are not expected to perform any custom formalities other than to arrange way bills, export documentation and obtain authority to load from various terminal operators.
The association lamented that clearing agents are currently in double jeopardy because they were being regulated by two Acts; the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Act According to it, only transporters, freight forwarders, warehouse owners and shipping agents should be regulated by the CRFFN Act and not licensed customs agents.
In the meantime, the General Overseer of The Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Joshua, has denied reports linking him and his wife, Evelyn, to an offshore company, Chillon Consultancy Limited.
German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, had last week released the PanamaPapers, the biggest leak in the history of data journalism, publishing online 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which showed how some prominent people across the world criminally hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.
Nigerian online medium, Premium Times, claimed to have seen documents stating that Joshua and his wife own one ordinary share each in the offshore company.
However, Joshua said in a statement that the report was a cheap attempt to tarnish his image.
The statement read in part, “I was shocked to find a report written in Premium Times claiming that the PanamaPapers revealed a shell company called Chillon Consultancy Limited in the British Virgin Islands, allegedly owned by me.
“Whoever is involved in this malicious write-up and propaganda with an obvious intent to defame my person and the ministry, should remember what the Bible says in Luke 2:34 – ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many… and to be a sign that will be spoken against.’
“I am not a businessman and I have no business whatsoever. What God has given me is more than enough. I have nothing to do with the PanamaPapers. As for me and my family, we shall remain in the vineyard of God.”
The cleric urged the media to be fair in its reportage, adding that some journalists were using the PanamaPapers to blackmail prominent Nigerians.
Joshua said, “Do not use the PanamaPapers to attack those you have been looking for an opportunity to victimise. This is to show that not everybody alleged in the media to be involved in the PanamaPapers is truly involved.”
Shipping Position with additional report from Punch