Asset Declaration: Customs faults CCB’s claim

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says contrary to figures released by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), more than 1,598 of its officers complied with an order to declare their assets.

The CCB had informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY vide a letter dated 20th December 2016 that it received a nominal role of only 1,598 Customs officers from the Nigeria Customs Service. It said out of the 1,598, names sent to it, only 1,191 officers completed and returned their forms, indicating that 387 Customs officers, among those administered failed to declare their assets and are still in the Service.

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reported that the NCS has a staff strength of about 17,500.

But Customs spokesman, Joseph Attah, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, in reaction to the story, faulted the CCB’s claim.

Attah told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the nominal roll sent to CCB was for officers serving at the Customs headquarters only.

“At the headquarters, we gave them the nominal roll here but at the command level officers went to other branches to declare so it is the nominal roll of those within here that was given to them (CCB) from the headquarters.

“I am very sure officers went to Bureau offices in various branches nearest to their commands and make their declaration. For example those in Port Harcourt, Lagos declared. So it means CCB cannot be in position to give you the statistics until they consult all their offices and compile every data,” Attah said.

“People got it all wrong when we talk about asset declaration. It is something that has been ongoing for long. Officers who had declared before that order, a year earlier need not declare. It is a normal thing and people have been declaring but due to one reason or the other people are transferred to remote places and could not declare.

“Because it is a personal thing, it is not something we can just talk about because you don’t know who has declared or not but I am sure officers went to CCB office closer to them to declare.

“In any case, the issue of assets declaration does not fall within the purview of Customs. It is the Code of Conduct Bureau. The management can only call and direct officers to declare,” he added.

It would be recalled that Customs Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali, in January 2015 gave marching order to all Customs officers to declare their assets to the CCB. It is not clear what punishment awaits the 387 officers at the Customs headquarters and others who have failed to comply with the order.

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