Ali: 5-year jail term awaits cor­rupt cus­toms of­fi­cers

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Eu­gene Agha, La­gos

Comptroller Gen­eral of the Nige­rian Cus­toms Ser­vice, re­tired Col. Hameed Ali, yesterday warned that any of­fi­cer ar­rested col­lect­ing bribe from an agent or im­porter risks a five-year jail term.

Ali added that the same treat­ment awaits those who col­lab­o­rate with cus­toms of­fi­cials to en­gage in cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties, not­ing that the po­si­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion re­gard­ing cor­rupt prac­tices was very clear.

He was ad­dress­ing stake­hold­ers in the mar­itime sec­tor dur­ing his maiden visit to cus­toms for­ma­tions in La­gos State.

He said his man­date from Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari was very clear and di­vided three-prong;-to re­form, re­struc­ture and in­crease rev­enue.

Vow­ing that he would carry out the man­date to the let­ter, Ali said: “I was in the mil­i­tary po­lice and through­out my 27 years in the army, I was en­forc­ing laws and that is what I know how to do. We have dis­cov­ered that some of you do cut corners for per­sonal rea­sons. I was asked to come to the Nige­rian Cus­toms to en­sure that corners are not cut any longer.

“The days of cor­rup­tion are gone. In the face of the law, both the giver and re­ceiver are guilty of the same of­fence. In do­ing our busi­ness, we must have an un­der­stand­ing. There are rules gov­ern­ing ev­ery op­er­a­tion.

“Col­lec­tively, we will ad­dress the ills in the cus­toms. We are here to en­sure that no­body will ask you for a penny. Our tele­phone num­bers are there for you to ad­dress such mat­ters. We have seen how you fal­sify doc­u­ments and this has to stop. There is no more hid­ing place for cor­rupt of­fi­cers and their col­lab­o­ra­tors.”

He fur­ther warned those who un­der­de­clare their car­goes would also be charged ac­cord­ing to ex­ist­ing laws.

“It is five-year jail term. I am not go­ing to change it or cre­ate a new law. This is what awaits any cor­rupt of­fi­cer, agent or im­porter,” he said.

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