The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operating Unit (FOU), Zone C, Owerri in Imo says it has confiscated 5,040 cartons of red grape drink smuggled into the state.
The NCS also seized 143 bales of fabrics with each bale containing 1,200 dozens of garments.
Controller of the NCS in Imo, Mr Kayode Olusemire made the disclosure while displaying the seized items at its office in Owerri on Wednesday.
Olusemire said that NCS officers in Owerri intercepted trailers conveying the smuggled items to Aba and Port Harcourt.
He said that the importers of the seized items would have to forfeit them to government as according to him, they were guilty of false declaration, an offence which contravened section 46 of Customs laws.
He added that the Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) for the containers indicated that they had been loaded with industrial salt and agricultural pressure sprayer as against red grape drink and garments respectively discovered in the containers.
The controller however, said that the importers of the seized items must have been trying to evade import duty adding that the duty for the real contents of the containers was higher than that of the camouflaged items.
Olusemire frowned at continued cases of false declaration and their impact on the country’s economy while advising importers to desist from the act.
“The importers of these items are guilty of false declaration and the items should be forfeited to government because what we have in the PAAR is different from the actual contents of the containers.
“The import duty for garments is 20 per cent while that of agricultural pressure sprayer is five per cent, so I think the importers must have been trying to evade tax.
“Red grape juice is prohibited from coming into the country because its importation can render local fruit juice companies moribund, leading to unemployment and economic insecurity.
“We have credible intelligence across the country so we advise importers to desist from illegitimate practices for the overall good of our dear country,” he said.