50 Customs officers face panel over corruption allegations

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By Odunewu Segun

About 50 officers of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) face summary dismissals if found culpable in an ongoing investigation involving corruption instituted against them by the service.

National Daily gathered that some stakeholders in the maritime industry had alleged that the officers who had been indicted, and recommended for various forms of punishment are yet to be punished almost a year after.
NCS Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi told National 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.

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He said the intention behind the setting up of the special provost unit 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.

“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. “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’”
 

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