There will always be consequences of dealing with agents that circumvent processes, rules and regulations.
A case between Tonason Evergreen Limited (importer) and an unscrupulous clearing agent is reflective of this subject as reported by the Guardian newspaper.
Tonason, through its solicitor, had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged underpayment by its agent who allegedly paid a duty of N500,000 on a Toyota Highlander 2013 model instead of the original duty estimated at N1,200,000, thereby cheating the government by N700,000.
The Managing Director of Tonason Evergreen Limited, Ikwuka Tochukwu Jude, in an interview with The Guardian, bemoaned the fraudulent act, stating that all efforts to get the agent tracked by the EFCC and customs had yielded no positive results.
In the petition obtained by The Guardian, Tonason stated: “Our client, upon the purchase of a Toyota Highlander 2013 model, engaged the respondent, to clear the vehicle by paying the required customs duty. Our client later paid N1.8 million to the agent as duty fee which he duly acknowledged.
“Our client was travelling to Nnewi in Anambra State when he was accosted by customs officers who confirmed that the original duty payable on the vehicle was N1.2 million, instead of the paltry N500, 000 paid by the agent.
“In that circumstance, our client swiftly put a call across to the respondent who actually admitted not paying full duty on the vehicle, consequent upon which the respondent quickly made a transfer of N70,000 to our client for onward payment to the customs officers and later got the vehicle released.” Efforts to get the clearing agent for comments were unfruitful, as he ignored calls and messages to his telephone.