Dilemma Of Probity And Accountability In Govt Revenue Generating Agencies, By Ade Ilemobade
ameed The directive of Hameed Ali (rtd), who is the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), that all officers of the service must make full disclosure of their assets is a welcome development.
Really, I will admit that it is an understatement to use the word necessary to describe such a fundamental paradigm shift in approaching probity, accountability, and fighting corruption in government establishment. Kudos to you Hameed Ali.
Note: The word Civil Service and Public Service would be used interchangeably in this piece.
Show me what you have aquired material/financial wise, given your renumeration and fringe benefits as a Civil Servant in a given capacity and I would be able to access whether you are living beyond your means, in the absence of any legallly justifiable argumentation to support your sources of wealth or stupendous riches.
Applicable extant law for this directive is The Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act Cap B1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Section 12 (1) states that “The provision of this Act shall apply to the Comptroller-General, Deputy Comptroller-General, Assistant Comptroller-General, Chief Collector, Principal Collector and other Officer, Staff or employee of the Nigeria Customs Service as the apply to a Chief Executive or an employee of a Bank”.
Here is the link to Code of Conduct for Public Officers: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/aapam/unpan038432.pdf
The Civil Service rules and Code of Conduct for Public Officers as regard misconduct or serious misconduct would/may apply here to address any discrepancies that may come up in the process of verification of the assets declaration of those affected officers.
The following are lists of Misconducts/Serious Misconducts under the Civil Service Rules:
SECTION 3 – MISCONDUCT
030301 – Misconduct is defined as a specific act of wrong-doing or an
improper behaviour which is inimical to the image of the service and which
can be investigated and proved. It can also lead to termination and
retirement. It includes:
(a) Scandalous conduct such as:
(i) Immoral behaviour;
(ii) Unruly behaviour;
(iv) Foul language;
(b) Refusal to proceed on transfer or to accept posting;
(c) Habitual lateness to work;
(d) Deliberate delay in treating official document;
(e) Failure to keep records;
(f) Unauthorized removal of public records;
(i) Membership of cults;
(j) Sleeping on duty;
(k) Improper dressing while on duty;
(1) Hawking merchandise within office premises;
(m) Refusal to take/carry out lawful instruction from superior
(p) Discourteous behaviour to the public.
SECTION 4 – SERIOUS MISCONDUCT
030401 – DEFINITION: Serious misconduct is a specific act of very Definition
serious wrongdoing and improper behaviour which is inimical to the image
of the service and which can be investigated and if proven, may lead to
030402 – SERIOUS ACTS OF MISCONDUCT INCLUDE: Example
(a) Falsification of records;
(b) Suppression of records;
(c) Withholding of Files;
(d) Conviction on a criminal charge (other than a minor traffic or
sanitary offence or the like);
(e) Absence from duty without leave;
(f) False claims against Government Officials;
(g) Engaging in partisan political activities;
(h) Bankruptcy / serious financial embarrassment;
(i) Unauthorized disclosure of official information;
(n) Violation of Oath of Secrecy;
(0) Action prejudicial to the security of the State;
(p) Advance Fee Fraud (Criminal Code 419)
The Civil Service exist in perpetuity. An ”organism” with heart, mind, soul established to ensure that policies and programs of government at all times are carried out. Continuity is at the heart of Civil Service that is why they have to be non partisan.
Note that the Civil Service Rules apply to the Custom Service and they refer to a set of laws, regulations, codes, circulars, guiding the behavior of public servants for them to be successful in producing desired or intended results.
Loyality to the nation and government is of the essence of Civil Service. It is important that government Employees/Public Servants eschew dishonesty, graft, or any kind of dishonourable mannerism while executing his/her duties.
The imperativeness of this exercise in asset declaration is to drum home the factual reality that this government, coupled with the Nigeria Custom Service headship would not condone corruption and corrupt officers in the service, that are leaving a life beyond their means while a public servant legally speaking.
My hope is that other government establishments would follow suit most especially revenue generating government organs like the Nigeria Immigration Service, National Population Commission, etc.
The immigration boss Martin Abeshi needs to step up his game in this direction to weed out corrupt elements in the Nigeria Immigration Service which has become a cesspool of corruption, anywhere you go in (NIS) you will meet the monster stirring you in the face with potbellied officers working for themselves rather than for the nation Nigeria.
We need to make it clear here that senior officers are deeply involved in this corruption cesspool.
All Misconducts/Serious Misconducts mentioned in the Civil Service Rules are in the ”Etalage” by the Nigeria Immigration Service, a look in the shame basket at the Land Borders, Airports, Sea ports, Passport Offices would make any responsible law abiding citizen of Nigeria soak with disgust inside out.
I wonder why nothing is being undertaking to rid this important revenue generating agency of government and a post card for Nigeria from this gigantian beast of shame.
You only have to go to any of the offices of the Nigeria Immigration Service and you can experience first hand the nonchalant attitude of the officers and men to corruption, really it is an acceptable culture in the service nationwide.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti put it succinctly in his famous lyric Powershow
”You reach boarder immigration officer dey/Him go bluff you/Waste your time/Change him pants/Some dey comb dem hair/Den tidy dem table/Den dem pull dem chair/Before him go know say you dey there/If you no talk quick/Him go go for shit/Him go shit come-back/And you talk to am/Then you suprise when him/Shack for you/Him go say you no go cross/You no go cross today/Na that time dem go start Dem/Power Show” -Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Please Martin Abeshi save our soul from the bloodsuckers in the Nigeria Immigration Service.
OTUNBA ADE ILEMOBADE is a philosopher