The Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) is warning fraudulent bidders involved in making unrealistic bids to stay off its e-auction platform or risk prosecution.
The Customs Public Relations Officer, Mr Joseph Attah, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja that the service would not spare those undesirable elements making fraudulent and unrealistic bids with the sole aim of polluting the exercise.
According to him, the management of Customs has began moves to reprogramme the platform to make it inaccessible to fraudulent bidders who are discouraging genuine bidders from participating.
Attah said the second batch of 48 hours bidding process that started on Monday at noon and ended on Wednesday at noon was loaded with 115 vehicles and all were bidded for and supposedly won.
” I used the word supposedly because our experience revealed that some bad elements who are criminally minded have launched into platform and started bidding bogus and unrealistic figures just to spoil it.
” You will see where a bidding is ongoing for an item with a reserved bid of N300,000 and people are offering N350,000 to N500,000 and all of a sudden you will see someone from nowhere quoting N5 million to N8 million.
“It is obvious they are jokers who think we are fooling around; remember the rule is that in the event the highest bidder cannot pay within five days, the item reverts to the second highest bidder.
“So what these people have done is to pair themselves up, where one person bids reasonably say N400,000 for an item with a reserved bid of N200,000, the other drops an outrageous figure like N8 million just to ward off potential bidders.
“We know the vehicle is not worth half of that amount in the market. This is unfair,” Attah said.
Attah said that the service would be reprogramming the system in such a way that one cannot bid beyond a certain percentage of the reserved bid or what the average bidders are offering.
He said the system would not allow any bidder to make such exaggerated bids, adding that the system would detect the bidders with their Tax Identification Number (TIN).
“Those bidder will no longer participate in future bid aside from risking of prosecution for such act.
“Again, the system is being reprogrammed in such a way that when the winner fails to pay in five days, the item will revert back into the pool for fresh bidding, instead of going to the second highest bidder.
“The management knew why the TIN was made a mandatory pre-bidding requirement. It gives us your picture, address, phone number, email and other vital information. With this TIN, we will go after these fraudsters,” Attah said.
While giving an assessment of the second batch of bidding process, Attah said the system recorded 2,001 registered bidders.
He added that out of the figure, 1,919 were enabled and participated in the bidding.
“We want to assure the general public that the NCS is determined that e-auction platform succeeds.
“We are motivated by the benefits of the e-auction platform that includes security, opportunity for better revenue generation and the fact that it presents equal opportunity to all Nigerians.
“As a service, we want to continue to engage the general public through a process that is transparent, accountable and capable of safeguarding our integrity,” he added.
Attah said that at the first batch of 48 hours bidding process, 43 bidders emerged winners.
“Out of this figure, 42 have paid for their bids and began collection at the Ogun State Command where the vehicles are located.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, on July 3 in Abuja, inaugurated the platform aimed at giving all Nigerians equal opportunities to partake in bidding for seized vehicles and to increase customs’ revenue.