Ex-Customs Boss, 28 Others Charged With Corruption In Jordan

 

A former customs chief, an ex-minister and a top businessman in Jordan were among 29 suspects charged Thursday with corruption in a case involving fake cigarettes, a judicial source said.

More than a dozen companies and firms were also charged in the “tobacco case” which media reports have said had cost Jordan’s treasury hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues.

The suspects indicted by the prosecutor of the state security court, which is a military tribunal, include prominent businessman Awni Mutee, ex-customs chief Waddah al-Hamoud and former water minister Munir Oweis, in a 66-page charge sheet seen by AFP.

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Several charges were levelled against 29 suspects and the companies implicated in the case, including abuse of power, bribery, smuggling and money laundering.

They stand accused of “activity harmful to the security and well-being” of the public and of “endangering” society.

The prosecutor has referred them to trial.

Oweis and Hamoud were arrested in January, while Mutee, the main accused, was extradited from Turkey in December. Six suspects are on the run.

Security sources said last year that they had raided a factory south of Amman owned by Mutee where fake cigarettes were produced.

The raid came a month after angry demonstrations in Amman to denounce corruption, price rises and austerity measures.

King Abdullah II vowed in October that authorities would crack down on corruption.

Buhari Accepts Custom Boss’ Resignation

Muhammadu-BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the resignation of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Dikko Abdullahi.

With the acceptance, Abdullahi is expected to proceed on his voluntary retirement from Tuesday, August 18.

He had earlier written a letter on August 3 to the President in which he expressed his desire to proceed on voluntary retirement from Tuesday.

The President’s approval of Abdullahi’s request was written on August 14.

President Buhari thanked the NCS boss for his services to the county in the last six years.

Mr Abdullahi had in his letter to the President thanked him for the confidence and trust reposed on him since he [Buhari] was inaugurated on May 29 and pointed out that by August 18, he would be six years in office as the Comptroller-General of the NCS.

The Customs boss had, on assumption of office, articulated a six-point agenda which he vigorously pursued.

He said the agenda had positively impacted on the efficiency and performance of officers of the service and had drastically changed the negative perception of the service.

Mr Abdullahi listed the six-point agenda to include capacity building, introduction of e-Customs, enhancing productivity through improved welfare package, moral rebirth for discipline and integrity in service, collaboration and partnering with stakeholders and international organisations, as well as fostering understanding of the Service in the eye of the general public using an intensified and a well-coordinated public relations platform.

The NCS boss said he was not afraid of the probe of his tenure, as revenue collection into various coffers of the government increased drastically under his watch.

He said the Service’s average monthly collection in 2009 when he took over was about 29 billion Naira, but that it was now between 90 to 100 billion Naira.