The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company plc (NAHCO Aviance) has denied being part of the conspiracy surrounding seized cash in foreign currencies by the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
In a statement, NAHCO said that the organization has no connection whatsoever with this alleged act.
“The Company has initiated contact with the Nigerian Customs Service’ hierarchy to provide it with details of this incident. As a responsible corporate organization, NAHCO will cooperate with all regulators, agencies and other stakeholders in not only finding out the truth about this unfortunate incident but also rooting out malpractices in the sector,” it said.
“The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company does not condone irresponsible and criminal behavior. The Company takes seriously the trust of its esteemed clients, partners and other stakeholders, both local and international, and will do everything to protect that trust.” the statement added.
It was reported yesterday, that $8 million was intercepted at the Murtala Mohammad Airport. Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), during a media briefing in Lagos, said that the dollars loaded in six big `banco’ bags were packed in a coaster bus belonging to the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company and was intercepted at the airport tarmac.
He added that one suspect, the driver of the bus, Chimezie Okonkwo was arrested and taken into custody with the intercepted consignment. According to him, his visit today is connected to one of the critical roles customs play as an agency that acts as the watchdog of national economic security.
He pointed out that currently, the value of the threshold in Nigeria was the equivalent of 10,000 dollars and above. He, therefore, said that all travelers in and out of Nigeria must declare any physical cash in excess of this threshold of 10,000 dollars or equivalent of other currencies or monetary instruments. The Customs boss said that question was often asked, why customs or any agency of government need to know if a private person or company was taking out monies for their personal business ‘out of the country. He noted that it was for the reason that illegal criminal activities like international terrorism, drug smuggling, arms proliferation are financed by illicit cash movements outside the recognized financial systems. He added that proceeds from other criminal activities like corrupt enrichments from public treasury are similarly siphoned out of the country in cash.
“To enforce compliance with the monitoring of cross border cash movement, registers are maintained at all approved points of entry and exit, where voluntary declarations are recorded and maintained.