Following the setting up of a special provost unit as part of effort to ensure speedy conclusion of investigations and also to reposition the Service investigative unit for greater efficiency, 50 officers of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) are currently facing the sack due to their involvement in vehicle valuation issues at the ports.
NCS Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi told newsmen recently 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.
According to him, “The intention of this 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.
“Plans are underway to reposition and restructure the investigation department and a committee has been set up in that regard. In doing this, he (Customs Comptroller-General) is creating a provost unit to compliment what the investigation unit is doing now.
“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.
When asked if the Customs boss will make good his threat to jail or dismiss those found wanting, Adeniyi said “As regards what will happen to them, there is no point pre-empting, 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.”
“We can’t speculate if the CG will prosecute or not but I am sure it won’t take us time to complete the report.”