BASSETERRE. St. Kitts -- CUSTOMS officials are said to be in the process of weeding out those within their ranks who are bent on breaking the laws they were hired to uphold following allegations of fraud.
The security agency has been rocked and embarrassed by allegations that two of its female officers were part of a ‘pay for waiver scheme’ that saw them failing to turning over monies belonging to the government, while at the same time seeking to the waive duties and taxes on imports.
Hilroy Brandy, Commissioner of Police, recently indicated that investigations into allegations at Customs House are ongoing, noting that they have passed the probe over to the Financial Crime Units.
He told reporters that they already took statements from the parties and the probe is well on its way.
Now, Comptroller of Customs, Jomo Butler has denied rumours that the two officers who were allegedly fingered in the swindling were arrested, explaining that “no officers are charged at this point in time, Any information of that will be made known, will be made known through official channels.”
Butler acknowledged that it is concerning that officers within the ranks could be caught up in such allegations, and emphasized that the Customs and Excise Department “has a zero tolerance to corruption and wheresoever it is identified will be dealt with accordingly. ”
“So, yes of course, where any allegation that reflects back on the Customs it is a concern to us. And so we recognize that we have to hold the general public’s trust . It is our responsibility to ensure as much as possible that we address any issue of corruption or any issue relating to questionable actions of our officers,” the Comptroller noted.
The department has undertaken a number of measures to remove rogue officers from within its ranks, including screening new recruits within the agency.
Butler told SKNVibes that the officers are vetted and a polygraph test administered during the recruitment process.