By Bayo Bernard
President Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent, ANLCA Prince Olayiwola Shittu may have been embarrassed by the association’s sudden changed of gear over allegation of mismanagement of the Council funds against Registar and Chief Executive Officer of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria, CRFFN, Sir Mike Jukwe.
ANLCA had in August this year accused Jukwe of mismanaging over N3 billion belonging to the council. The spokesman of ANLCA, Kayode Farinto raised the allegation while addressing journalists on the directive by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to CRFFN to commence the collection of the vexed Practioners Operating Fees, POF. Farinto explained that the fund was part of the federal government budgetary allocation to the council for three years.
As a matter of fact the agents had called on the federal government to investigate the allege fraud with a view to getting to the bottom of it.
The flagship body of licensed customs agents in the country opposed the collection of POF. ANLCA has also expressed its dissatisfaction with the management of the Council by Jukwe despite the absence of a Governing Council as required by the CRFFN Act. It said it was unhappy the manner Jukwe continued to run the council as a sole administrator.
But the magazine learnt that weeks after ANLCA accused the council of fraud it has now retracted on the matter. According to investigations the council had frowned on the allegation, so much so that it reported the issue to the minister to call ANLCA to order.
Sources said the council had become tired of incessant attacks against its leadership, particularly the one that the management failed to rise above board in managing its funds. This time, the council was said to have taken the issue seriously to the extent that it threatened to sue ANLCA over the allegation except it retracted.
Jukwe in a chat with the magazine said the leadership of ANLCA has eaten back its vomit after earlier blewIng hot that several billions have been mismanaged by the council. According to the CRFFN boss, ANLCA has now apologized profusely to the council that it erred. Referring to the allegation, Jukwe in a message to the magazine said” I refer to your story captioned ‘ANALCA Exposes N3.2 Billion Fraud in CRFFN.’ Please, be informed that ANLCA through their lawyer has apologized and retracted.”
The relationship between CRFFN and ANALCA had never been a rosy one, but the bad blood reached a worrying dimension recently after the minister of transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi gave the council the go ahead to collect the Practioners Operating Fee, POF from customs agents before their goods are cleared from seaports and airports.