The Nigerian Customs Service has grounded a Gulfstream G650ER owned by a "leading Nigerian bank" over NGN1.9 billion naira (USD1.2 million) owed in unpaid customs duties for two other aircraft formerly owned by the bank, the newspaper Punch reported.

The customs authorities asked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to cancel all flight permits for N331AB (msn 6487). Although the newspaper reported that the aircraft was grounded at Lagos, its last tracked flight took place from Lagos to Abuja on June 24, 2024, ch-aviation research reveals.

The report did not name the bank involved but indicated that the unpaid dues are related to "formerly owned" G450 and G550 aircraft that have since been removed from Nigeria. The dues were assessed in 2021 and could be revised to around NGN6 billion (USD3.9 million) based on currency exchange rate adjustments.

The 2.2-year-old aircraft is operated by a Bermuda-based entity, Oviation Asset Management (Two), which, as revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, used to be (and potentially still is) part-owned by Jim James Ovia, founder and chairman of Nigeria's Zenith Bank. The bank did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.

Oviation Asset Management (Two) also operates Gulfstream G550 N197BB (msn 5519), which was last tracked flying from Farnborough via Bangor International to Phoenix Williams Gateway on July 5, 2024. The SPV also operated two G450s in the past.

The action is part of an ongoing clampdown on import tax avoidance by private jet operators in Nigeria. The NSC summoned at least 80 owners to submit import documentation by July 19, 2024, to ensure that the aircraft are being properly taxed on delivery to Nigeria. The launch of the campaign reportedly prompted some jet owners to fly their aircraft out of the country, which, in turn, pushed the NCS to detain the G650ER before the July 19 deadline.