Customs fire four deputy comptrollers, 25 other senior officers

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Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali
(retd)

Rasheed Bisiriyu and Anna Okon
Less than a week after sacking 17 junior officers,

the Nigeria Customs Service on Thursday
announced the dismissal of 29 senior officers,
including four deputy comptrollers and five
assistant comptrollers.
Others affected in the latest purge are seven chief
superintendents and four superintendents of
customs. Ten other officers were retired from the
service.
According to a statement signed by the Customs’
Deputy Comptroller/Public Relations Officer, Mr.
Wale Adeniyi, the 29 senior officers were sacked
for various acts of gross misconduct.

He said the dismissed senior officers were among
the 44 officers who were punished for actions
capable of compromising national economy and
security.
The officers affected were said to have been
involved in unlawful acts such as improper
examination and release of containers without
proper documentation and payment of duties;
illegal release of goods before the arrival of
vessels; fraudulent sale of seized items; and use of
fake certificates and bribery to secure auctioned
goods or release prohibited items.
The statement explained, “All the officers were
served with queries indicating the 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 of the Nigeria Customs Service.
All the officers affected in the exercise have been
communicated accordingly.
“The comptroller-general warned officers that
punitive sanctions will continue to be used to
discipline officers who refuse to embrace change.”
The NCS had said the 17 junior officers earlier
dismissed committed offences ranging from drug
addiction to certificate forgery, theft and absence
from duty.
Meanwhile, the Comptroller-General of Customs,
Col. Hammed Ali (retd), has called for the
reduction in the number of auto assembly plants
given licences to operate in Nigeria through
mergers and consolidation.
Ali’s view, which was presented at a forum in
Lagos organised by the Automotive and Allied
Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and
Industry, however, differed sharply from the
position of the National Automotive Design and
Development Council.
“The NCS is of the opinion that 44 assembly plants
are too ambitious and the reality is that the
economy will not be able to sustain them,”the
Customs boss said.
But the Director, NADDC, Dr. Lukman Mahmud,
disagreed with Ali on the issue, stressing that the
licensing of the auto assembly plants followed due
process.
According to him, the high number of automakers
showing interest in the venture was an indication
of their confidence in the Nigerian economy, adding
that the investors should be encouraged and
supported.
Mahmud and other speakers at the event, including
Prof.Okey Ikeduru of the Arizona State University,
United States; and Dr. Andrew Nevin of
PricewaterhouseCoopers, stressed the need for
regular review of the nation’s auto policy and
patronage of locally assembled vehicles by the
government and private firms as well as individuals
in order to ensure the success of the programme.

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