Customs Accuses Minister Of Inciting Senate’s Probe

By Ikenga Chronicles October 28, 2016

Customs Accuses Minister Of Inciting Senate’s Probe

There is a strong suspicion among senior officials that the ongoing Senate probe into the activities of the Nigeria Customs service (NCS) was instigated by the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun.

They lament that the minister beamed the searchlight on the service by an allegation of corruption among the officers and men of the service.

The minister had on October 20, 2016 lamented that the Federal Government was losing huge sums of revenue due to leakages in the Customs and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), a factor she said was hampering meeting revenue targets from the two agencies.

Adeosun was said to have expressed displeasure at a report from her ministry, which indicated that the NCS had generated less than N400bn in 2016.

However, barely a week after, the Senate Committee on Finance and related offices, announced that it had commenced the process of probing the NCS aimed at looking into ways to increase revenue generation capacity of the service.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodimma, who disclosed this during an oversight visit to the NCS headquarters in Abuja, said if the service was well run it should generate enough revenue to fund the nation’s budget.

Uzodinma also disclosed that the National Assembly was looking into the process of re-enacting the law establishing the service for optimal performance.

“We are looking into the operations of Customs Service; looking at the areas of revenue generation and possible leakages with a view to finding solutions.”

“We have done detailed work and we have established contacts with all commands under the service and want to create a situation where the NCS will be able to fetch the country the kind of revenue we are looking for from non-oil sector.”

While interacting with the Comptroller-General of the Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), the committee requested that certain documents be submitted to enhance its probe.

The committee gave the service till October 28 to submit all the relevant documents and answer all the queries posed.

Part of the inquiries was seeking to establish how the seven per cent Negotiable Duty Credit was managed and how the service handled seized cargoes and overtime cargoes.

But despite the committee’s claim that it was acting independently, the customs officials have insisted that they were being subjected to the probe through the dictates of the minister, this is even when an aide to Adeosun has
distanced her principal from the allegation.

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