Bribes, Tips At Airports To Attract 5 Years Jail Term

By Kevwe Ebireri, Abuja

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, says solicitation, giving or receiving of bribes or tips at international airports across the country will no longer be tolerated and will now attract up to five years jail term.
 
Speaking in Abuja over the weekend, the ICPC chairman, Nta Ekpo, said to mark this year’s World Anti-Corruption Day, the commission will on Tuesday launch its anti-corruption airport initiative to discreetly monitor all international airports in the country, to check corrupt practices by both air travellers and aviation sector staff.
 
Nta said the launching which will take place at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, will be done in collaboration with the Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, who has given personal and official support for the initiative.
 
He warned that any offender engaged in giving or receiving bribes or solicitation would be arrested and prosecuted, adding that giving airport staff tips, other than for payment for receipted services, would be treated as solicitation and attract sanctions.
 
The chairman said the commission would ensure that notices are prominently displayed at strategic locations at the various airports to educate all travellers entering or leaving Nigeria on the zero tolerance for corrupt practices like offering bribes whether solicited or unsolicited.
 
Also commenting on related abuse of the procurement of travel documents like yellow cards and visas, Nta said, “I have started arresting people who are selling yellow cards at airports and outside designated Health facilities. I have recently arrested a very senior female hospital staff in Abuja who was selling signed copies of yellow cards and pre-signed Medical Reports.”
 
According to him, the ICPC has been able to do a lot of clean up of fake or fraudulent intent to collect visas from the High Commission of India and the embassies of Spain, Brazil and the United States. 
 
He said ethics and Integrity training would be arranged for all airport staff by the ICPC in addition to subscription to an airport code of professional conduct.

The ICPC boss said Nigerian travellers can avoid falling prey to fraudulent airport officials when travelling abroad, by correctly declaring whatever they are carrying in order to avoid any embarrassment from airport officials.

Nta also revealed that his agency undertook a similar Corruption Risk Assessment exercise at selected sea ports a few months ago in partnership with stakeholders in that sector.
 
Currently, he said,  some ICPC operatives are undergoing training with the Nigerian Customs Service in order to better understand the processes at the sea ports in order to effectively prevent abuses.

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