The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos command has thwarted the efforts of currency Traffickers with the interception of $8.6m in a bus at the airport.
At a news conference in Lagos, the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) said the currency was intercepted on the airport tarmac.
The NCS boss said the bags containing the foreign currencies was intercepted at about 1200hrs on January 16, 2020 at the E- Wing of the tarmac of the Lagos Airport.
The next day, which was Saturday, January 18, 2020, the service according to Col. Ali took an inventory of the money in the presence of the Directorate of State Security, Customs intelligence unit, anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing unit, customs police and the suspect where the sum was confirmed.
He said that the feat was achieved command through credible information gathered the day the consignment was supposed to be moved out of the country.
Col. Ali disclosed that names were written on each wrap of money which were in $100 denomination.
He said after the preliminary investigations, the money would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigations.
The NCS boss stressed that it was not a crime to ferry money out of the country, but noted any amount of money in excess of $10,000 must be declared to customs by the owners.
He said: “Currently, the value of the threshold in Nigeria is the equivalent of $10,000 and above. Therefore, all travellers in and out of Nigeria, must declare any physical cash in excess of this threshold of $10,000 or equivalent of other currencies or monetary instruments.
“The question is often asked, why do customs or any agency of government need to know if a private person or company is taking out monies for their personal business out of the country. It is for the reason that illegal criminal activities like international terrorism, drug smuggling, arms proliferation are financed by illicit cash movements outside the recognised financial systems.
“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 all approved points of entry and exit, where voluntary declarations are maintained. The declaration are then followed up by EFCC to ascertain any possible link between the cash movers and criminal networks.”