Customs chief orders creation of anti-corruption unit

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief, Isidro S. Lapeña, ordered the creation of Interim Internal Affairs and Integrity Unit (IIAIU), as President Rodrigo Duterte wants all forms of corruption stopped.

Corruption issue has been hounding the bureau for the longest time. "That is why we are now facing it head-on," Lapeña said.

The unit's prime mandate is to stop illicit acts of some BOC officials and employees of amassing ill-gotten wealth. It primarily strengthens disciplinary actions on erring BOC personnel and aims to encourage everyone in the agency to be compliant with existing directives and policy guidelines.

In the memorandum issued on December 29, 2017, Lapeña enumerated the functions of the unit: investigate complaints against BOC personnel, receive and gather evidence in support of an open investigation; conduct motu propio investigation on incidents where evidence in the prosecution of smuggling cases was compromised, tampered with, obliterated, or lost while in the custody of BOC personnel; conduct lifestyle checks on BOC personnel; evaluate or recommend the filing of appropriate criminal cases against BOC personnel before the court as evidence warrants and assist in the prosecution of the case; and undertake liaison work, coordination, and provide assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman, National Anti-Corruption Commission of the Office of the President, and Revenue Integrity Protection Service of the Department of Finance.

During Monday's flag raising ceremony, Lapeña again gave a stern warning to employees who blatantly ignore and disobey his orders to step out or else they will be weed out of the bureau.

"We already know you by names, it's only a matter of time before I kick you out. I don't care if you are backed by some officials. The President has given me full authority to lead this agency," he said.

The IIAIU is headed by Lapeña and composed of one lawyer, two special investigators, and three administrative staff. All reports will be submitted monthly to the commissioner.

"It is incumbent upon public servants to promote high standard of public service, improve efficiency and institute professionalism in all our dealings," said Lapeña. (PR)


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