The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) may have uncovered high level fraud of age and state of origin falsifications allegedly involving some of its senior officers in the rank of Deputy Comptroller-General.
Also involved in the rumpus which is threatening the career of the officers are mid-junior officers.
SHIPPING DAY gathered that one of the two DCGs (names withheld) is supposed to be the oldest serving customs officer. The officer is said to be representing the South South geopolitical zone under the quota /national character arrangements.
The other DCG according to our sources allegedly falsified both his age and state of origin, claiming to be from one of the states in the South East as against his real state of origin which is in the South South.
It was gathered that some officers from the South East are actually worried that this alleged act has short changed and robbed the Southeast geopolitical zone of their rightful national quota and representation in the Nigeria Customs Service at very senior level.
Some of the aggrieved officers said the DCG who claims to be from one of the states in the South East when he is from one of the states in the S’South, implies that in reality he is actually occupying and representing the South South geopolitical zone and not the South Eastern geopolitical zone as it stands.
“By this deliberate and singular act of age and state falsification, the DCG (names withheld) had all these years in the service fraudulently short changed and continuously robbed the Southeast geopolitical zone of their rightful national quota and representation in the Nigeria Customs Service”, one of the aggrieved sources said.
The alleged scam was blown up following an investigative exercise conducted by the Human Resources Department on the directive of the Comptroller General of Customs, Rtd Col. Hammed Ali to scrutinize the documents of mid junior cadre officers suspected to have falsified their age and state of origin while entering the Service.
The investigative exercise we learnt had led to discovery of a number of mid-junior officers involved in the fraud, a development which would mean their compulsory retirement from the Service.
It was gathered that the officers had lobbied their senior top level officers in the Service to come to their aid which was rebuffed.
Incidentally, the idea of carrying out the investigative exercise, our source said, was to purge the Service of internal corruption in pursuit of the Comptroller General of Customs’ policy thrust.
It was also to raise the bar of discipline via compulsory retirement exercise and corresponding sanctions in the service.
Worried about what fate awaited them with the refusal of their senior officers to assist, it was gathered that the officers had also put pressure on the management to extend the investigative exercise to top management level, in other words, to cover every officer, including the DCGs.
It was this that led to more investigation in which the two DCGs were implicated.
Our source said the CG has been worried on receiving the findings of the Human Resources Department.
It was further gathered that the affected DCGs were advised to write apology letters over the cases against them.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Customs, Mr Josepha Attah, denied knowledge of any investigative exercise on age and state of origin falsifications in the Service.
But Attah said there is an ongoing effort to automate every aspect of Customs Service operations with an eye on biometric update by officers of the Service.
He said the exercise is yet to be concluded.