The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Comptroller-General and its personnel must register their assets as the Federal Government broadens the scope of its anti-corruption campaign.
It was discovered that asset declaration applies to all cadres of personnel in the Service.
The disclosed assets will be verified by any government agency empowered to do so.
The start date for asset declaration by customs officials has not been set.
Officers, on the other hand, will be required to disclose their assets under the same law that applies to bank employees.
Any customs officer who is discovered to be living above his means faces a ten-year prison sentence.
Also, customs officers are liable to additional 10-year jail terms, if he forges, falsifies or alters any document relating to importation, or exportation of goods, products or any article.
President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to sign an instrument on the National Security Council.
The restrictions are contained in the Bank Employees, etc. (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986, which The Nation got exclusively.
Section 12 of the Act specifies who is affected in the Customs Service.
The section is titled “Application of the Act to the Nigerian Customs Service and other people and organisations.”
“The provisions of this Act shall apply to the Comptroller General, Deputy Comptroller General, Assistant Comptroller General, Chief Collector, Principal Collector, Collector, and any other officer, staff, or employee of the Nigerian Customs Service in the same way that they apply to a Chief Executive or an employee of a bank.”
“By an instrument published in the Federal Gazette, the President may direct that the provisions of this Act be applied to any other person, class of employees, institutions, or organisations in the private or public sectors of the Nigerian economy.”
In the case of illegal importation and exportation of products, responsible authorities may face an additional ten years in prison.
“Offenses connected to the importation and exportation of commodities and products,” according to the Act.
“In this section, “document” means any banking, customs or shipping documents including but not limited to letters of credit (confirmed or unconfirmed), bill of lading and invoices.”
For those aiding bankers and customs officers, to acquire and hide illegal assets it is a seven-year imprisonment.
The Act adds: “Offence relating to fronting (1) Any person who (a) acts as a front for an employee of a Bank or does or omits to do anything or acts in a manner likely to defeat the objects of this Act; or (b) unlawfully acquires, disposes, operates, owns or retains any assets for or on behalf of any employee of a bank, commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years.
“The assets in issue shall be forfeited to the Federal Government in addition to the imprisonment provided in subsection (1) of this section.
“For the purposes of this section, a person acts as a front if (a) he accepts a gift, donation, or bequest from a bank employee with the understanding or in circumstances that such a gift, donation, or bequest was intended to be held on behalf of, or in trust for, or for the use of the employee, his spouse, children, parents, relatives, associates, or privies; or (b) he accepts a gift, donation, or bequest from