How Customs Intercepted $8Million At Airport

Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service

News Investigators/ The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday said it intercepted the sum of $8million at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, adding that investigation has commenced to unravel mystery behind illegal movement of the money.

Comptroller-General of Custom, Hammed Ali said the owners of the money has been identified but declined to name the suspected owner.

Mr. Ali told journalists at a press conference in Lagos that the money wrapped in several large-sized brown envelope was found in a vehicle belonging to the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) at the tarmac of the airport.

The driver of the vehicle identified as Chimezie Okonkwo, has been arrested and taken into custody for further investigation.

However, the management of NAHCO said it had no connection with seized money.

“Our attention has been brought to a press conference earlier today by the Comptroller – General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hammed Alli (rtd) to the effect that a vehicle belonging to NAHCO was intercepted with some cash in foreign currencies as it conveyed the money to an aircraft at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos,” the agency said in a statement.

“We wish to state unequivocally that NAHCO as an organization has no connection whatsoever with this alleged act.

According to the Custom boss, “no bank has come to claim ownership sine the day it was intercepted. But our investigation will reveal the mystery behind the owners,” said Mr Ali.

He added that the arrest was made when customs operatives suspected illegal movement of persons at the ‘E’ Wing of the airport tarmac.

“Acting on credible information, the command operatives at about 1200 hours on 16 January 2020, intercepted illegal movement of foreign currency at the tarmac,” he said.

“The consignment packed in a coaster bus was loaded in six big Bagco bags.

“On Saturday, 18 January 2020, an inventory of the consignment was taken, and was witnessed by representatives of the Directorate of State Security, Customs Intelligence Unit, Anti-Money-Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Unit, Customs Police and the suspect.

“At the end of the inventory taking, a total number of 20 sealed wraps were opened, counted, re-seated and re-wrapped under video coverage from the beginning of the exercise to the end. The total amount intercepted stood at $8,065,612.”

He said the consignment has been kept in safe custody, while preliminary investigations have commenced on the seizure.

“We will update you as the investigations unfold” he added.

The Customs boss advised Nigerian travellers and those in business to declare the cash with them if they chose to carry such.

“The threshold remains $10,000 and I will like to give assurance that they have nothing to fear in the process.”


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