NBI hits back at BoC, denies extort attempt

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) yesterday maintained that operations conducted against some importers were legitimate and legal, saying importers choose to fabricate charges against the bureau for uncovering violations in customs laws.

In a statement issued to media, the NBI said it maintains that operations conducted were in regular performance of their legal functions and in consonance with a memorandum of agreement between the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the NBI.

In the agreement, the BoC requires the assistance of other government agencies with expertise in the field of surveillance, investigation and law enforcement.

The NBI took exemption to accusations that certain investigators from the agency were involved in harassing importers and small businessmen in the transport of their shipment.

In strongly denying the allegation levelled against bureau investigators, the bureau even said it will relentlessly pursue its mandate against all forms of crimes and violations of the law, including the Tariff and Customs Code.

The NBI provides necessary manpower support and expertise in the conduct of such surveillance, investigation and prosecution of smugglers.

Moreover, the NBI said it has no Anti-Smuggling Unit and it dares its accusers to name names of agents allegedly involved in the abuse of their duties.

“If there is anyone found to have committed irregularities, the bureau assures the public that they will be investigated and necessary charges filed against them,” the NBI said.  Jing Villamente

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