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Freight Monitor

Freight Forwarders may drag GTB to EFCC over financial infraction

—– threaten to suspend operations with GTB 
—claim over N20bn loss to demurrage, storage charges
The Eyewitness reporter 
The Freight Forwarders, plying their trade at the Nigerian Ports, have threatened to drag the Guarantee Trust Bank(GTB) to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for the failure of the back to remit an undisclosed sum of money it collected as duty payment on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service.
 It could be recalled that GTB was suspended from the Customs duty collection scheme over this financial infraction.
The National Public Relations Officer NCS, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi had said the bank was on temporary suspension on orders of the National Assembly.
However, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said the customs brokers may be forced to suspend their operations with the bank following its suspension from the collection of duties on imported cargoes at Nigerian ports.
In a chat with our correspondent, Farinto confirmed that the bank was suspended owing to non -the remittance of money collected from clearing agents on behalf of the federal government.
He said the act was a criminal offence, as he threatened that the customs brokers may be forced to invite the EFCC to look into the issue.
He informed that following the suspension of the bank, over 20 Billion has been lost while adding that if by Monday the issue is not resolved, the customs brokers will stage a 1000 walk to the bank’s corporate headquarters in Lagos.
According to him “We need to correct this impression because GT bank has succeeded in feeding the public with false news.
” What we noticed is a financial shenanigan on the part of the bank. It is not even customs that suspended them, it was a directive from the National Assembly based on investigation and what it translates to is that in the course of reconciliation, GT bank has not remitted some large amount of money to the federation account and they have collected it on behalf of the federal government and that is a criminal offense and that is why we will be inviting the EFCC to come into this issue.
“Enough of making Nigerian importers and freight forwarders suffer unnecessarily and that is why we are not going to take it likely.
“If by Monday, they are not called back into the system, we are going to make sure that by Tuesday morning, we will call our freight forwarders not to do transactions with GT bank again, they should close their account.
” We will make sure we mobilize more than 1000 freight forwarders to go to their corporate headquarters.
“This has impacted negatively on the economy of the country.
“As we discuss, consignments that have collected their Form M and have their PAAR through GT bank are unable to move forward, they are stalled and likewise vehicles that have made their assessment because they have been suspended from finance in the system.
“This is a very big loss to us because demurrages and storage are accumulated.
“We are calling on all our chairmen in all the ports to collate all demurrages, transactions that have to do with GT bank.
“We are going to send a letter to EFCC  to investigate this and in the national interest, let the world know that this is financial indiscipline and they should go down for it.
” Unfortunately, I was told that some directors in CBN should be guilty, if a bank collects duty and charges on behalf of the nation and that money is not remitted, it is the responsibility of CBN to make sure that there is financial discipline on that commercial bank and this has not been done, and we are not sure if those remittances were done, it could even be they’ve not done any remittance since last year or even six months ago.
“This is criminal and an act of sabotage in line with the Act that establishes EFCC, it is their responsibility to dabble into this issue and investigate it and let us know what is happening,” he said.
When asked to quantify the loss of freight forwarders, he said “If we want to qualify the financial loss accrued, there is no way it will be less than N20 billion because if you want to look at it, you look at the issue of storage, demurrage and the inconveniences that people will not be able to carry their cargo.
“And some of these cargoes may be on loan and the loan will be running , so it can’t be less than N20billion.
“We appreciate the National Assembly for this and appeal to NCS to look for a solution in the interest of trade facilitation.
” It becomes exigent on their part to do that,
“We are not saying that they should cancel assessments done, there should be a bypass on how the problem can be solved in the interim pending when it is resolved.
“We will be calling on importers, for now, to discontinue any service or transaction with GT bank until the issue is resolved and until we know what actually transpired.
“We are also calling on the National Assembly to let us know how many banks that are culpable in the area of this financial irregularities and indiscipline,” he said.
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Freight Monitor

President Buhari to commission multi-billion naira Dala Inland dry port Monday –Ahmad Rabiu

The Eyewitness reporter
All is set for the commissioning of the Dala International inland dry port on Monday 31st January 2023 by President Muhammad Buhari at Zawachiki in Kumbotso local government area of Kano state.
The Managing Director of the international inland dry port Ahmad Rabiu, stated this while addressing newsmen on the preparation for the inauguration of the port at its headquarters in Kano.
Ahmad Rabiu, who was joined by the chairman of the inland dry port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro, said its the first international inland dry port where cargoes will go anywhere in the world from Kano state without follow up to any sea ports across Nigeria.
Ahmad Rabiu told newsmen that the federal government under President Muhammad Buhari has given all the support required for the take-up, noting that they have met the requirement on infrastructure and other critical amenities.
The MD said the stacking area has the capacity of containing 20 thousand units of containers before moving anywhere at any time, noting that the area covers six hectares of land and the management is willing to add more.
According to Ahmad Rabiu, all the requirements needed for clearance by businessmen, and customs duty will be done right from Kano without follow-up to any seaport in Nigeria.
On his part, the chairman of Dala Inland Dry Port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro said the management of the port is prepared technically, and physically with interested partners and is going to boost businesses in Kano, Nigeria and Africa in general and urged members of the press to partner with the management in ensuring efficiency, emphasizing that the place is not a monument but a business venture.
The chairman said Dala Inland Dry Port is now a solution to the problems brought about by the seaports and they will introduce cargo tracking and door-to-door delivery of goods and services.
He said the success of the inland dry port is a joint venture between the state government, the business community, regulatory agencies and the Federal Government of Nigeria and to make business in Kano and its neighborhood more competitive.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN rejects re-appointment bid of ousted Sam Nwakohu

Ousted CRFFN Registrar, Nwakohu
— appoints Uromta as Acting Registrar
—-shops for substantive Registrar.
The Eyewitness reporter
The Council for the Registration of Freight forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) has thrown out the re-election bid of the outgoing Registrar of the Council, Sam Nwakohu.
In an emergency meeting of the council Thursday at its Abuja liaison office, the Council appointed Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, the Director of Regulations and Enforcement, as an acting Registrar pending the time a substantive registrar will be appointed.
The decision of the council to reject the reelection bid of the ousted Registrar was based on the recommendations of its ad hoc committee to look into the request of Nwakohu for a second term tenure.
The outgoing registrar, last year, at the December meeting of the council, submitted a letter, requesting to be considered for a second term shot at the lucrative position.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni set up an ad-hoc committee, headed by Efeanyi Isikaku, to look into the request of Nwakohu and submit its report in two weeks.
“Following the completion of its assignment and submission of its report, the council, therefore, convened today (Thursday)in Abuja to deliberate on the next line of action to be taken in respect of the committee’s recommendations.
” The AdHoc committee made important recommendations with reference to the provisions of Public Service Rules as well as the council’s Act.
“The committee however, recommended that in order to avoid a vacuum after the expiration of the Registrar’s tenure, the council shall start making arrangements for a handover of the Registrar’s office to the most senior management staff of the council.
“Similarly, the committee also recommended that the Appointment Promotion and Discipline committee of the council be directed to start making preparations for reappointment or appointment of substantive Registrar”  Muftahu Ya’u, the chairman Committee on Media and Publicity of the governing council,  declared in a statement he sent to our reporter.
 “Finally, the council’s chairman soon after the adoption, approval, and ratification of the committee’s recommendations by members of the council directed the followings:
that arrangement for the Registrar’s handover to Mrs. Chinyere Uromta  Director, Regulations and Enforcement on 31st of January 2023.
“That committee on Appointment Promotion and Discipline go ahead to start preparations for reappointment/appointment of a new Registrar” the head of media and publicity of the council concluded.
It could be recalled that soon after Nwakohu made his ambition known to succeed himself as the Registrar of the council, he went on a lobbying spree, trying to woo the council members to buy into his ambition.
But sources close to the council whispered to our reporter that the second term bid of Nwakohu was dead on arrival due to lots of baggage he carries.
“There was no way he could have succeeded in his obnoxious bid to succeed himself.
Firstly, it was a general consensus among the freight forwarding confraternity that Nwakohu failed woefully as the registrar.
“He is incompetent, arrogant and someone not ready to learn,” a highly placed source said.
“Also, several allegations of financial sleaze against him have not been cleared.
“Similarly, the council members were not happy at the way Nwakohu handled the purchase of the CRFFN Abuja liaison office which cost they felt was inflated.
“All these and other uncharitable behavior of the outgoing registrar are enough reasons not to reappoint him as the Council registrar” the source claimed.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN outgoing Registrar, Sam Nwakohu, lobbies Council for second term in office

— as he bows out in February.
—-Freight forwarders reject his comeback bid
The Eyewitness reporter
The outgoing Registrar of the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), Samuel Nwakohu, is making last minutes efforts to get a second term tenure in office as the head of the freight forwarding regulatory body.
The outgoing Registrar, who was appointed in February 2019, will exit the council in February 2023 after four years in office.
Our reporter gathered exclusively that Nwakohu was not in a hurry to leave office as he has written to the governing council of the regulatory body about his intention to apply for a second term tenure.
At the December meeting of the council in Abuja, the application letter of the outgoing registrar for a second term tenure was read and a committee was raised to look into his request to return.
Confirming the development, Kayode Farinto, a member of the ad-hoc committee on the second term bid of Nwakohu, said the committee was given two weeks to submit its findings to the council which has the statutory rights to make recommendations on the bid of the Registrar to the Minister of Transportation, Engr Muazu Sambo.
However, our reporter gathered that Sam Nwakohu has embarked on intense lobbying of the committee members and other notable stakeholders in the industry in a bid to clinch the second term tenure.
Kayode Farinto however denied knowledge of any lobby tactics of the outgoing Registrar.
‘I am not aware if he is lobbying or not but what I know is that his letter intimating the council on his second term bid was read at our last council meeting where a committee was raised to look into the issue” he said.
It was gathered that the committee had its first meeting Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 at Rockview Hotel, Apapa Lagos where members deliberated on the chances of Nwakohu.
Meanwhile, there was generally a foul mood among freight forwarders against the outgoing Registrar.
They unanimously dismissed the second-term bid of Nwakohu as obscene, unwarranted and an insult to the collective psyche of freight forwarders given what they all agreed was his unmitigated failure.
“He doesn’t merit a second term in office as the registrar of CRFFN. His tenure was an unmitigated disaster. He is arrogant. He doesn’t relate well with the freight forwarders. He is quick to anger. He distanced himself from his immediate constituency” Alhaji Mukaila Abdulaziz declared.
“We need someone who is ready to learn, we need someone who listens to correction, and suggestions without taking offence.
”Personally, I do not want to see him (Sam Nwakohu) return as the Registrar of CRFFN” the ANLCA scribe concluded.
Mr Ojo Akintoye, the ANLCA chapter chairman of the Tin Can Island port spoke in a similar manner.
When he was asked if the outgoing Registrar deserves a return ticket to the office, Akintoye thundered “No, absolutely no”
“What has he achieved in the four years he was there as the Registrar? Absolutely nothing. His impact was not felt in the industry. The industry didn’t feel the impact of the CRFFN during his tenure. Others should be given a chance to prove their mettle” he said.
Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the immediate past President of ANLCA declined to comment, tactically evading the assessment of the outgoing Registrar.
”I don’t want to discuss CRFFN. It is not worth it.  Since the time I resigned from the council, the body has lost direction. It has lost its focus. It has become a means of making money for some people.
”Could you imagine that some people, since 2007 when the council started, have been in the council, recycling themselves to make money?
Since the council has lost focus, I have equally lost interest in its affairs” the ANLCA chieftain declared.
Similarly, Prince Ozo Chukurah, the Vice Chairman of ANLCA BOT evaded the request to assess the performance of the outgoing Registrar  because” I am no longer in the council”
But indication is rife that the desperate bid of Sam Nwakohu to retain his plum job may not materialise as he was said to have stepped on many toes through what angry stakeholders described as his arrogant posture on issues and little or no knowledge of the industry he is meant to regulate.
This is coupled with the litany of allegations of financial impropriety that dogged his tenure.
He was said to have lived a flamboyant life on the resources of the CRFFN to the chagrin of the council members, some of whom have vowed to block his chances of coming back as the Registrar.
Mr Nwohohu is believed to have proceeded on his terminal leave in December prior to his final disengagement in February 2023 as the de facto Registrar
Sources said his many “sins” he committed in the course of his tenure will likely hurt his chances of coming back.
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