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Customs ground 62 private jets over tax evasion

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Abiola Seun

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has grounded about 62 aircraft that defaulted in the ongoing verification of import documents exercise.

Speaking at a press briefing, the National Public Relations Officer of the service, Joseph Attah, said the grounding won’t be lifted until the jet owners present their import document duly certified by the Service.

He said, “The Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria has been put on notice to ensure only privately owned aircraft duly verified, and cleared by Customs are authorized to operate within our airspace.”

“Within the stipulated period, 86 private jets/aircraft operators showed up for the exercise and presented the relevant documents for verification.

“Of this number, 57 were verified as commercial charter operators, and were duly cleared for operations, 29 other private jets/aircraft were found liable for payment of Customs duty.

“Their values were assessed, and the appropriate demand notices issued to their owners for the payment of outstanding duties.

“However, 62 other private jet/aircraft whose registration numbers were duly obtained from the appropriate authority were not verified because their owners or designated representatives made no presentations to Customs that could help determine their status.

“To this effect, all 57 commercial charter jet/aircraft operators who presented their documents for verification are requested to come forward to the Tariff and Trade department of the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters, Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3 Abuja-FCT, Room 312 between 10:00am and 5:00pm to collect their Aircraft Clearance Certificates.

“All 29 Private Jet/Aircraft owners and or their representatives who have been issued with demand notices have been given (14) days from the 11th of October 2021 to collect and make payments to the designated Federal Government accounts after which they will be issued with Aircraft Clearance Certificates,” he stated.

He said the owners of the 62 private aircraft for which no presentations were made for their verification, and whose status remains uncertain are requested to immediately furnish the tariff and trade department of the Service with the necessary documents for verification and clearance.

Attah implored all concerned to avail themselves of the opportunity as the NCS will not hesitate to activate enforcement procedures on identified defaulters.

In line with its statutory functions as provided for in PART III Sections 27, 35, 37, 45, 46, 47, 52, 56, 63 & 64; Part XI Sections 144, 145, 155, 160, 161&164 and Part XII Sections 167, 168, 169 173&174 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), all owners of private aircraft in the country were invited to come forward with their relevant importation clearance documents for verification.

The exercise took place between the 7th of June and August 6th 2021 at the Tariff and Trade Department of the Service.

The document requested include: Aircraft Certificate of Registration; NCAA’s Flight Operations Compliance Certificate (FOCC); NCAA’s Maintenance Compliance Certificate (MCC); NCAA’s Permit for Non-Commercial Flights (PNCF) and Temporary Import Permit (TIP) (where applicable).

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