Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has dismissed 29 senior officers for various acts of misconduct. The officers are among the 44 senior officers who were punished for actions capable of compromising national economy and security.
They were accused of 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 and collection of bribe to release prohibited items. Customs added that some of the indicted officers engaged in the release of export prohibitions, fraudulent sale of seized items, use of fake certificates and bribery to secure auctioned goods. Four of the officers who got the hammer were of the rank of deputy-comptroller of Customs, while five were assistant comptrollers. Others were seven chief superintendents of Customs and four superintendents, among others.
According to the spokesman of NCS, Wale Adeniyi, a deputy comptroller, 10 other officers were retired from service, while the appointment of one was terminated. He added 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. Just last week, 17 junior officers were dismissed from service for offences like bribery, drug addiction, use of fake certificates and absence from duty.
The spokesman stressed that the Comptroller- General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), had made it clear upon his assumption of duties that the service would not compromise on corruption and indiscipline among the officers. Adeniyi noted that the structure and process for investigation of offences was strengthened to handle cases reported promptly and professionally.
He stressed that the process leading to the actions taken on the officers was painstaking in line with the Public Service Rules (PSR). According to him, all the officers were served with queries indicating offences committed, before they made appearances before the Special Investigation Committee. He said: “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.
“Officers affected in this exercise were investigated for their 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.”