By Suzzy Tolofari
Hameed Ali, the comptroller general of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has dismissed 29 senior officers for acts of gross misconduct.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Mr Wale Adeniyi said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, the dismissed officers were among 44 senior officers who were punished for actions capable of compromising national economy and security.
“Ten other officers were retired from the 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.
“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,’’ Adeniyi said.
According to him, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hammed Ali, had made it clear upon his assumption of duties that the service would not compromise on corruption and indiscipline among the officer’s corps.
He said that in line with this, the structure and process for investigation of offences was strengthened to handle cases reported promptly and professionally.
“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 said.
Adeniyi said that officers affected in this exercise were investigated for involvement in improper examination; release of containers without proper documentation and payment of duties; illegal release of goods in advance before the arrival of vessels.
He said that the officers were also involved in collection of bribe to release prohibited items, release of export prohibitions, fraudulent
sale of seized items, use of fake certificates and bribery to secure
“The process leading to the actions taken on the officers was painstaking in line with the Public Service Rules (PSR),”, Hameed Ali said at the meeting.
“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 NCS, all the officers affected in the exercise have been communicated accordingly.
Adeniyi said that the Customs boss warned that officers who refuse to embrace change would continue to be sanctioned.
Recently 17 junior officers were similarly dismissed from service for offences such as bribery, drug addiction, use of fake certificates and absence from duty.