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NAGAFF disappointed over CGC’s response on ‘Public Hearing’ issue

NAGAFF President, Chief Eugene Nweke
CGC, Col. Hammed Ali(Rtd.)

The National
Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has expressed
disappointment over the response of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col.
Hameed Ali (Rtd.,) referring to his correspondence as ‘ most disheartening.’

“We had expected that letters or correspondences from the
Customs should be
the tonic NAGAFF needed to support Mr President, the
CGC and to conclude the public hearing report for the use of the
appropriate Government authority
including ICPC.
“However, to our surprise, the above referenced letter
from Ag. ACG Sanusi A. U. was capable of dampening the morale and
enthusiasm of any Nigerian or body with the intention of supporting the
CGC’s mandate. 
“The CGC should take note of the following facts that
corruption in the ports is on the increase because it is mostly
systemic,” it said.
NAGAFF letter to the CGC, signed by its Secretary General, Mr Arthur Igwilo,
referred that the association was only interested in ensuring a worthy fight
against corruption in any form at the ports and not to undermine the authority
of the customs.

also noted that it was the same national anti-corruption efforts that may have informed
Retire Col. Ali’s appointment in a democracy, to stem corruption in the customs
and at the ports.

NAGAFF, however, said that the CGC’s correspondence may have been
done to shield the accused officers from answering to the corruption

“The mood of the nation at the moment on matters of
corruption engendered 
doctrine of necessity that may have brought about the emergence of a 
officer on Customs related matters to be appointed as the 
of Customs in the person of Rtd. Col. Hameed Ali in a 
 The belief of NAGAFF
and other critical stakeholders is that 
Hameed Ali will help to stem the tide of corruption in the Customs 
“We suspect this letter may be inadvertently serving a
purpose of shielding 
DC Saidu
and Zarma from the alleged accusation of corrupt practices by the 
agents which runs contrary to the message being passed 
by the CGC as to his zero tolerance for corruption,” the letter read in

NAGAFF said it suspected the motive of the CGC’s letter,
because the association did not mention the names of the accused officers in
its own correspondence while proposing the public hearing.

“The names of the officers allegedly involved in this matter
were not 
in the said letter – Deputy Comptroller Aliu Saidu and Asst. 
Zarma refer.

“The fact
that the signatory to the letter is asking us to forward the 
facts and
evidence we might have through his office to the CGC.  This to 
us runs
contrary to the normal procedure for sending information to the 
heads of
public government agencies in accordance with civil/public 
mode of communication.

The way the letter in question was ended, no courtesy,
considering the 
fact that
this is a formal letter and not an internal memo; this kind of letter of
inquiry is expected to emanate from the Anti-Corruption Unit of the
Nigeria Customs Service and/or the
Investigation Unit of the Service
rather than ACG Headquarters Office which is administrative.”

explained that it only used the word ‘Public Hearing’ in a restrictive manner
for its members and how it was misunderstood, stating that “We are not a court
or National Assembly or an arm of the Government for that matter and we
are very much aware that we do not have the powers to
compel any
Government agent or agents to appear before us in that regard. 

“The context in which we used public hearing was because the
plethora of 
from our members, were so much that we decided to invite all of 
The agents of the Government were advised to come on their own 
to ensure fair hearing. We do have the powers to invite our 
to hear their complaints over a particular person or persons,” it said.

recalled that the association and the CGC had been working to break the 
monopoly and corruption at the Jibiya border of Katsina state, which it claimed
had recorded remarkable progress.

It said it had resolve to play its role in the
anti-corruption crusade in spite of the ongoing event playing out, which it
said could be a form of distraction.
It called the CGC’s attention to what it considers areas of
concern and how the issues could be addressed.

“Areas of concern should include but not limited to the non-compliance
attitude at the traders zone, improper Customs examination, value
assessment questions that are usually frivolous, the inherent abuse of
the T&T Headquarters and local alerts of the ASYCUDA Project Managers.
are stoppage of released and exited containers at the Exit Gate, 
abuse in the licensing and operations of Customs licenses, lack 
transparency in revenue assessment matters and so many other vices that 
corrupt practices.

“In view
of all these contentious issues, we would expect the CGC to call 
for a
town hall meeting with specific stakeholders to forge a way forward 
in his
anti-corruption mandate. 

“We shall in due course
make appropriate
statement thereafter the committee report of the
anti-corruption unit of NAGAFF might have concluded its assignment over
the alleged corrupt officers therein mentioned, including the
confirmation of the authenticity of this letter from the CGC,” NAGAFF

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