The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has taken on the task of educating and enlightening freight forwarding practitioners on the need for proper documentation and description of imports and exports in line with Customs operations.
Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, warned that as provided in the Customs and Excise Management Act(CEMA), wrong description of goods compromises the law and therefore attracts a penalty of imprisonment upon prosecution.
He said: “ It is in fact in law that wrong description of imports for Customs declaration is in breach of Section 46, 47 and 161 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 2004 as amended.
“The inherent penalty thereto shall include, but not limited to seizure of goods and prosecution of offenders in a law court. Where you are convicted it shall lead to 5 years imprisonment without an option of fine.”
Aniebonam advised the freight forwarders to as a matter as necessity ask questions from importers/exporters in order to know the actual content of laden containers to guide them when making declaration in documentation for customs purposes.
He said: “…for the emphasis, it is legitimate and lawful that under destination inspection, the declarant is at liberty to make genuine declaration for Customs purposes, irrespective of the material content of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report as may have been uploaded to the PAAR Unit of the Customs by the consignees.
“The point herein contained is to advise practitioners to ask questions with a `view to obtaining the actual content of laden containers from the importers/exporters before making declaration in the single entry document of the Customs.
“It is a fact that PAAR is a risk management tool and advisory document in Customs operations.
Aniebonam made known that the Management of the Nigeria Customs Service had been disturbed by the non-compliant attitude of some practitioners, as it leads to revenue leaks and delays associated with clearing goods out of customs control.
He urged the freight forwarders to uphold integrity in their operations, in order to encourage the ease of doing business in the customs ports and border locations.