The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has dismissed 29 senior officers for various acts of gross misconduct.
Controller-General of the Service, Col Hameed Alli (retired), who announced the dismissal, Thursday, through his image maker, Deputy Controller Wale Adeniyi, said the affected men were shown the way out of the service “for actions capable of compromising national economy and security”.
According to him, the dismissed officers are among forty-four (44) Senior officers who were punished “for actions capable of compromising national economy and security” while ten other officers were retired from Service.
The development is sequel to last week action in which 17 Junior officers were similarly dismissed
from the service for offences like bribery, drug addiction, use of fake certificates and absence from duty.
The service also revealed that the appointment of one officer was terminated while four officers were given written warnings to be of better conduct, just as 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-Comptroller. Others were seven Chief Superintendents of Customs and four Superintendents, among others.
Adeniyi said the action is in line with the resolve of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) at his assumption of duties that “the Service will not compromise on Corruption and Indiscipline among the officers’ corps.
“In line with this, the structure and process for investigation of offences was strengthened to handle cases reported promptly and professionally”.
He said the Customs boss had similarly pledged to “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”.
Adeniyi clarified that the process leading to the actions taken on the officers was painstaking in line with the Public Service Rules (PSR), as “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”.
The Comptroller-General further warned officers that punitive sanctions will continue to be used to discipline officers who refuse to embrace change.
It was learnt that most of the officers affected in the house cleaning exercise were investigated for sundry offences such as involvement in improper examination and release of containers without proper documentation and payment of duties.
Other offences that led to their untimely exit from the service also included 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.
By Alex Akao