An officer of the Nigeria Customs Service has been accused of collecting a sum of N200,000 from a commercial driver who identified himself as Olanrewaju Olasupo before allegedly releasing his impounded vehicle to him.
It was gathered that Olasupo’s bus was impounded along with tomatoes in the Monday seizure made by the men of NCS in Ijoun, Yewa-North Local government area of Ogun state.
While speaking with newsmen in Abeokuta, Olasupo alleged to have paid the bribe to one officer Akin in Abeokuta command without being given a receipt for the payment.
In his words, Olasupo explained that he took some traders to purchase tomatoes in Ijoun when his vehicle was impounded on their way back.
“Before they (Customs officials) released the first goods, they collected N500 per bag of pepper and the money they collected from the woman who hired my vehicle was N23,000 for 43 bags.
“The remaining people that have baskets of pepper also paid N500. For my vehicle, they collected N200,000. They said that my offence was because I carried pepper from the border”.
“When we explained to them, they insisted and collected N200,000 from me after all the arguments on Tuesday.
“They seized my vehicle because I used the vehicle to carry pepper. They said that they collected the money because we used the vehicle to carry pepper.
“They did not tell us what the money is meant for; they only said that they will collect N500,000 before they can release my vehicle. But, I begged them till they agreed on N200,000”.
Olasupo added that although, the customs officer who allegedly perpetrated the corrupt act didn’t give him any receipt but gave him his telephone number.
He added, “I was not given a receipt for the N200,000 I paid. I gave the money in cash. I can still recognize the officer I gave the money to.
“He took us to his boss, but he was the one I gave the money to. He did not issue any receipt. I gave them the N200,000, because they did not want to release my vehicle and the way they were using their trucks to drag vehicles I could not bear it.
“I want to get my money back from them. The money they collected from me was my monthly allowance I raised from three vehicles that are working for me. That was the money we gathered,” Olasupo narrated.
In his reaction, the spokesman of the Joint Border Security Exercise, who doubles as the National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Joseph Attah, debunked the allegation.
Attah stressed that the driver might have fallen into wrong hands.
He maintained that no officer would collect a bribe and gave his phone number out.
His words, “All the vehicles that were brought to the Customs house are still there. We don’t even know the vehicle you are talking about.
“ The vehicles with tomatoes are still there as at (Tuesday) evening and they had a meeting with the farmers and even with the traditional rulers and they have resolved their issues I don’t know which one you are talking about?
“They have resolved the issue, he (the state PRO) has sent to me, even, the few ones that were auctioned with receipts indicating the payment to the Federal account have been forwarded to me.”
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