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February 24, 2017

Finance Minister decries corruption in Customs …Says staff are cohesive crooks hard to break

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Wednesday decried the high level of corruption in customs and other agencies, describing some of the staff of Nigerian Customs Service, as “cohesive crooks hard to break.”

Adeosun also told the Senate that the Federal Government would sustain its over N6trillion national budget in the 2017 appropriation bill.

She was addressing the Senate Committee on Finance, who were on oversight visit to her ministry.The budget will be submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari, after the consideration and subsequent approval of the pending 2017—2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, by the National Assembly.

She said government still spends more on salaries, pension and debt services, than on capital projects.

Earlier, Committee Chairman, John Owan Enoh, (PDP, Cross River Central), told the minister that the committee’s visit was “driven by the collective decision of the Senate that all its standing committees embarked on oversight visits to all ministries, departments and agencies of government.”

The Committee, however, criticized the minister for what it described as her poor handling of agencies under her watch, resulting in leakages and loopholes.

Senator Hope Uzodinma, a member of the committee and Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs said, “There are a lot of drained pipes and leakages. I don’t think that the ministry under your watch has given sufficient attention to revenue-generating agencies, the customs in particular.”

Mrs Adeosun responded that government’s efforts of realizing money from such agencies were being hampered by high-level corruption.

She further described some staff of Nigerian Customs Service, as “cohesive crooks hard to break.”

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Adeosun appealed to the National Assembly to assist in blocking leakages in agencies “stinking of corruption”.

Recall that former Special Assistant on new media to former President Goodluck, Reno Omokri, recently stated that Mrs Adeosun was not fit to be Nigeria’s Finance Minister.



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