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Ali, Customs boss

Customs deepens cleanup, punishes 44 officers, sacks 29 top brass

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Barely less than one week it sacked about 17 junior officers, the authorities of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), yesterday sanctioned 44 senior officers and dismissed 29 for varying degrees of infractions.

Whereas the 44 were said to have engaged in actions capable of compromising national economy and security, the summarized 29 senior officers were dismissed for acts described as “gross misconduct.”

In a statement signed by the PRO of the Service, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, NCS said 10 other officers were retired from Service while the appointment of one officer was terminated.

The Services noted that “Officers affected in this exercise were investigated for involvement in improper examination and release of containers without proper documentation and payment of duties, illegal release of goods in advance before the arrival of vessels, collection of bribe to release prohibited items, release of export prohibitions, fraudulent sale of seized items, use of fake certificates and bribery to secure auctioned goods.”

Adeniyi noted further that four officers were given written warnings to be of better conduct while another four officers who were investigated and tried for some offences were exonerated. The statement pointed that four of the officers who got the hammer were of the rank of Deputy-Comptroller of Customs, while five were Assistant-Comptroller of Customs.

Others were seven Chief Superintendents of Customs and four Superintendents, among others. It would be recalled that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) had made it clear upon his assumption of duties that the Service will not compromise on Corruption and Indiscipline among the officers’ corps. The image maker noted that in line with above, the structure and process for investigation of offences was strengthened to handle cases reported promptly and professionally.

The statement also quoted the CGC to have said at Management meeting convened to consider the report of the Disciplinary Committee that investigated the cases that, “We will give all officers fair hearing in line with the principle of natural justice. We will however insist that sanctions be punitive, not only to match the offence committed, but to serve as deterrent to others.” He pointed out that the process leading to the actions taken on the officers was painstaking in line with the Public Service Rules, PSR, and that all the officers were served with queries indicating offences committed, before they made appearances before the Special Investigation Committee.

 “The Committee’s recommendation was discussed and approved by the Customs Management. The recommendation was thereafter referred to the Presidency for ratification, in the absence of a substantive Board for the Nigeria Customs Service. All the officers affected in the exercise have been communicated accordingly.

“The Comptroller-General warned officers that punitive sanctions will continue to be used to discipline officers who refuse to embrace change.”


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