Customs sack 27 senior officers for corrupt practices

Ebun Francis

The fight to rid the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of corrupt officers continued this week with  the dismissal 29 senior officers for what the service termed “compromising the national economy”. This follows the the announcement of the sacking of seventeen junior officers for drug abuse, bribery and forgery last week.

The sacking of the senior officers was conveyed Thursday in a statement by Wale Adeniyi,the spokesman for the service who explained that the affected officers were dismissed after a disciplinary panel found them guilty of offences bordering on corruption and theft.

“Twenty-nine senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have been dismissed for various acts of gross misconduct. The dismissed officers are among forty-four (44) senior officers who were punished for actions capable of compromising national economy and security,” he said.

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“Ten other officers were retired from service, while the appointment of one was terminated. 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 custom spokesman further stated that “four of the officers who got the hammer were of the rank of deputy-comptroller; five – assistant-comptroller; seven – chief superintendent, and four – superintendent, among others.”

“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.

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“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 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.”