By Dipo Olowookere
Barely a week after it dismissed 17 junior officers, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has again fired 29 of its officers in the senior cadre for offence bordering on bribery, drug addiction, use of fake certificates and absence from duty.
Those who were sacked from the service last week were also dismissed for the same offences.
A statement issued on Thursday by spokesman of the service, Mr Wale Adeniyi, explained that the dismissed officers were among the 44 senior officers punished for actions capable of compromising national economy and security.
On assumption of office, Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Hammed Ali, had made it clear that the service would not compromise on corruption and indiscipline among the officers corps.
After he resumed, Mr Ali put in place a structure and process for investigation of offences and strengthened it 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,” the CGC remarked at a management meeting convened to consider the report of the Disciplinary Committee that investigated the cases.
Business Post learnt that apart from those dismissed, 10 other officers were retired from service, while the appointment of one was terminated.
Also, four officers were given written warnings to be of better conduct while another 4 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.
It was explained that the process leading to the actions taken on the officers was painstaking in line with the Public Service Rules (PSR).
All the officers were reportedly 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 Customs said.
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