No fewer than 50 officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) are currently being investigated for various corrupt related offences. Sources said the officers risk losing their jobs if found culpable.
There have been allegations by maritime stakeholders that corrupt cases involving some officers who have been listed for various forms of punishment may have been swept under the carpet, one year after the threat by the Comptroller General, Hameed Ali to prosecute any those found to be corrupt.
NCS Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the Customs boss has set up a special provost unit as part of effort to ensure speedy conclusion of the investigation and also to reposition the Customs investigative unit for greater efficiency.
“The intention of this is to ensure that investigations are done quickly and concluded and to ensure that adequate punishment as specified by law is prescribed for offences and most importantly to inculcate the fear of that unit in the minds of officers that there is a special unit that is watching them to ensure offences are dealt with decisively.
“Plans are underway to reposition and restructure the investigation department and a committee has been set up in that regard. In doing this, he (Customs Comptroller-General) is creating a provost unit to compliment what the investigation unit is doing now.
“There are over 50 cases involving officers regarding charges on vehicles, the valuation they give to vehicles, release of vehicles without procedures. We are addressing all of this but it might take some time,” he said.
Adeniyi said the Provost Unit will be a special investigative unit with powers similar to that of the Police in addition to having enforcement and prosecution powers.
When asked if the Customs boss will make good his threat to jail or dismiss those found wanting, Adeniyi said “As regards what we happen to them there is no point pre-empting them, we should wait for them to finish their report and come out with their recommendation.
“They have to follow due process to do whatever has to be down and I don’t think we should be in a hurry in the eyes of the judges. An innocent person should not be punished for a crime.
“We can’t speculate if the CG will prosecute or not but I am sure it won’t take us time to complete the report.”
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