Monday, November 26, 2012

Airport staff caught with $2 million at Lagos airport

A staff of a company operating at the Lagos airport was arrested along with a traveler trying to transport over two million dollars and 20,300 Saudi Arabian riyals at the weekend.

Mr. Hassan Rmaiti who had a duty card supplied by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was arrested together with Mr. Talal Hammoud as they evaded Customs with three bags containing $2,073,160 and 20,300 Saudi Arabian Riyal, an official said.

The two men were arrested by the Airport Special Task Force at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, said airport area comptroller of Customs Mr Eporwei Edike Charles.

He said the cash was seized from the suspects after they failed to declare it to officers on duty.

Charles said in a statement that the suspects were identified as Mr. Talal Hammoud with passport number A03599105 and Mr. Hassan Rmaiti with FAAN "on duty card number 25009 and the three bags of money have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and necessary action."

But the area comptroller did not say which company Mr. Rmaiti was representing at the airport. It is customary that FAAN issues duty cards to people working at the airport even though they are not FAAN staff, our correspondent says.

Charles said the foreign currencies were found on the two suspects at the "E" wing departure area of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

"The suspects violated regulations of government by attempting to take such amount of money out of the country without declaring the currencies to Nigeria Customs currency desk officers on duty," he added.

This seizure is coming after several others made recently in Lagos as well as in Abuja.

Just last week, the Customs in Lagos arrested a passenger with over $320,000 aboard a Qatar Airways flight bound to Doha.

Weeks ago, a man arrested with hard currency was convicted at a court in Lagos and he was made to forfeit the money to the Federal Government.

The special task force operating at the Lagos international airport comprises different security agencies including EFCC, Customs, State Security Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Immigration Service, and others working at the airport.

It was recently inaugurated by the Federal Government for the monitoring of the operations of security agencies, airlines and other stakeholders at the airport, at check in counters, departure screening areas and arrival halls.

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