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General News of Saturday, 24 May 2008

Source: GNA

CEPS chief decries corruption in the service

Aflao, May 24, GNA - Mr Emmanuel Doku, Commissioner of CEPS, has announced stringent measures to curtail corruption and extortion in the service and said public perception of graft in the service was "undoubtedly very high".

He was speaking at the third in a series of public forums dubbed Commissioner/Stakeholders forum on Friday at Aflao aimed at forging a closer working relationship between the service and its key partners to facilitate legitimate trade and revenue mobilization. Mr Doku said an Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) based on the US model where complains would be collected, investigated and action would be created as part of the anti-graft fight in the service. "We are urging our strategic partners to develop anti-corruption initiatives and embrace sanctions for corrupt practices and general malfeasance that can undermine our integrity." He said other measures were being introduced to allay the fears and concerns of stakeholders with regards to the operations of CEPS. Streamlining of clearance procedures to offset delays at the ports, redefining standards for professional and ethical conduct and the need to reconcile the divergent interests of the numerous players in the trade team, inter agency consultation and coordination were some of the other measures.

CEPS, Mr Doku said, was going by the World Customs Organization (WCO) advocated Framework Of Standards (FOS) to promote custom-business partnership and explained that the concept of Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) for easy verification of contents in containers had been introduced.

He said CEPS had proposed setting up of a joint consultative committee between customs and its partners as an interactive platform on customs operational matters to build a beneficial relationship. Mr Doku called for support in the fight against smuggling, illicit trade in drugs and ammunition and said there was the need to form collaboration with border communities in these areas. Participants mainly traders, transport and clearing agencies expressed worry about extortion by security personnel on the roads and the very bad nature of the Aflao border area roads that they claimed made truck loaded with goods to tilt and fall inhibiting human and vehicular movements.

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