Ali: 5-year jail term awaits corrupt customs officers
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.