Customs E-Auction: 48hrs After, 43 Nigerians Win Bid for Seized Vehicles Amidst Complaints of Website Failure
By Oge Obi
Forty-eight hours after commencing the first-ever e-auction process in Nigeria by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Service has said that no fewer than 43 persons have won the bidding of vehicles in the newly launched e-auction platform.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja recently, the NCS Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah disclosed this, saying that the platform is active and working. Attah made this clarification after the deluge of complaints that trailed the launch of the e-auction and bidders’ inability to access the website.
Reiterating NCS commitment to ensuring a hitch-free bidding, Attah said, “At the first day of the launching, there were technical challenges with the e-auction platform and these challenges have already been resolved. Potential bidders can now register smoothly without hitches. “I understand that today one bank will soon be on board, he said.
“The first 48 hours expired at 12noon on Wednesday and already 43 persons have won the bidding including a journalist, so you can see this platform is working. For now, it is only Jaiz bank that is on the platform, other designated banks are having Interswitch issues and they will soon be on board as soon as they ratify the issues.
Calling on potential bidders to be calm and make use of the available bank, Attah said that other banks would come on board. “For those trying to register, they should go to the designated bank area on the platform, click on the Jaiz bank and print out the page from their system and go to the bank to pay.
“This means the person has activated with Jaiz bank and the bank can key you into the bank system to enable you pay the N1000 administrative fee, which will be transferred to your e-wallet.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, had on Monday at the inaugurated the e-auction platform hinted that the new step was aimed at giving all Nigerians equal opportunities to partake in bidding for seized vehicles and to increase Customs’ revenue.
However, despite Attah’s claim and assurances that the platform was working, some of the potential bidders’ complaints still borders on their inability to locate Jaiz bank, inaccessibility of the e-auction website, and other hitches issues such as non-recognition of their Tax Identification Number. According to Mr. Habib Salami, “Even when I managed to access the website, I could not complete my registration because the system said it could not find my TIN. And my TIN is genuine. I was forced out of the process. I see no reason why Customs should proceed with this e-auction with one bank. It is illogical and a deliberate attempt to deny many Nigerians the opportunity to participate in this process, Salami said.
Meanwhile, Orient Energy Review’s visit to the e-auction website has the stipulated terms and conditions. “All those who want to participate in the e-auction process are advised to note the following terms and conditions:
• Applicant must have a valid TIN issued by the FIRS with an active e-mail account.
• An applicant shall pay a non-refundable fee of One Thousand Naira (N1,000.00) as administrative charge.
• An Item is auctioned “as is” as such request for replacement or refund shall not be entertained.
• The successful bidder shall make payment within five (5) working days.
• Failure to pay within five (5) working days the item reverts to the second (2nd) highest bidder.
• The successful bidder has two (2) weeks from the date of payment to remove the item bidded for or forfeit same at the expiration of the two (2) weeks.
• Any auction item not removed from the warehouse within fourteen (14) days from the date of payment shall revert to its pre-bidding status.
• Take note for overtime cargo, that the successful bidder shall in addition pay 25% charges for Shipping line and Terminal operator respectively.
• Bidders shall be allowed to bid for more than 2 items per bidding window.
• For claiming items, the winner shall present;
i. A valid copy of paid assessment and bank receipt (optional in case of e-payment);
ii. E-mailed code to identify owner after payment;
iii. A notarized letter in case owner sends representative. (Where owner is present uploaded photo on registration will do.)
iv. Provide proper identification with the notarized letter such as International passport, Driver’s licence, Voters card or National I.D.
• The dwell time for this Online Auction Sale shall be Twenty-Eight (28) days.
• Third party claims shall not be entertained.
• Owner of seized item is excluded from bidding for same.
• Conditions and terms of this auction are to be carefully considered by an interested person before acceptance.