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isThe Hamid Ali led Nigeria Customs Service is truly out to uproot the perennial corruption that has bedevilled the Nigeria Customs Service from the echelons to the lowest cadre staff.  It is no news that Customs Officers during previous regimes have been alleged to have enriched themselves in untamed corrupt practices thereby denying the nation revenue that should have accrued to it.

Upon resumption of office, the CG of Custom Hamid Ali set out among other plans to rid its house of corruption and thereby improve the revenue generation base of the Nigeria Customs Service through policies that will flush out, prosecute and possibly jail officers that compromise their code of conducts or engage in any corruption practices, no matter how major or minor the case is.  Today, the Assets Declaration exercise embarked upon by Hamid Ali’s leadership has sent fears to countless officers who have corruptly enriched themselves knowing so well that the exercise will be the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

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Among some of the corrupt practices which Customs Officers are notorious for include illegal seizures and disposals of seized goods from the warehouse or locations where they are kept, collection of money or monies from innocent Nigeria on grounds of aiding them in buying seized goods and wares, amongst others.

Despite these orders, some die-hard corrupt officers have continued to device means through which they carry out their nefarious activities.  One of the officers alleged to have become a pro in the illicit deal is the officer in charge of Karu Store which host many seized goods and wares made by Nigeria Customs Service.  She does so by convincing his victims that she is one of the members of the Customs Actions Committee and as such, she could help anyone buy the seized goods.  When anyone accepts, she uses a first bank account {details withheld} of her proxy to mop up the fund and would never turn up again.

One of her victims who spoke to us alleged that she collected N1million from him on the pretence of helping him to buy a car meant for auction.  ‘After more than one year, she never showed up.  She bared my number and even changed her worship centre where I knew her from.  All attempts to get my money back when I found it was a scam proved abortive until I took a step further towards recovering my money’.  He said.

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When she now sensed that her job was in danger, she called me and promised to return my money.  {Showing us a teller with which he made the payment to her proxy account}.  Here is the teller with which I paid into the account she directed me to pay in the N1m and after one year, because I threatened to expose her activities, she began to pay in bits.  The first being N100,000 paid on September 2015.  Another N250,000 paid on 26th October, 2015.  Now, with your team in picture and the new CG’s effort at cleansing the notorious Customs Service, she calls every day pleading with me, but crime is crime.  I will expose her to the later so that other Nigerians she has defrauded will get justice eventually’.  He said.

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When our lead investigator called the officer to ascertain the truth or otherwise of the allegation, she pleaded and offered to do whatever she was asked to do so that she does not lose her job.  When asked what she was willing to do, she opted for a private discussion with our lead investigator which was turned down and she continued to call.  A deeper investigation revealed that she uses a particular account {details withheld} that belong to her proxy to mop of money in millions from unsuspecting Nigerians fraudulently.

Today, countless Nigerians who have fallen victims of the sinister acts of the Nigerian Customs officials in the name of buying cars and other seized properties can now have a sigh of relief, all thanks to the uncompromising new Comptroller of Customs Service.

Shedrack Light Iheoma

Is a Freelance Journalist based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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