31st August, 2017
The Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff and Marine Transport has vowed to continue its ongoing investigation into alleged N30 trillion revenue scam in the import and export chain.
The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, made this known while briefing newsmen after its investigative meeting with some of the companies on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the interest of the Senate in the investigation was to assist the executive in recovering monies trapped in the import and export chain.
He said “there are allegations that the investigation is borne out of personal interest.
”Once a senate committee passes a resolution such as this, it cannot be termed as decision of a single senator.
“You may not like my face as a person but it is important to look at the credibility of the work we are doing.
“We need to sanitise the import and export circle to ensure that trade is facilitated and non-oil revenue is recovered and strengthened.
“In that manner, government will not rely so much on oil.”
The lawmaker further said that while some had alleged that the investigation was a sham, some of the indicted companies had started refunding monies running into billions of Naira to Federal Government.
”As a result of this investigation, banks which are the authorised dealers in the export and import chain have been making effort to remit everything collected by them to the Central Bank.
”We are doing this on a friendly note because we do not want to send a wrong signal to the market.
”Although more funds other than the N120 billion I announced sometime ago have been recovered, we do not want to send wrong signal.
“We are limited to speak further on how much has been recovered so far.
”However, we will definitely come up with figures recovered at the end of the investigation.”
Uzodinma explained that the committee was saving the figures till the end of the investigation because some of the companies were quoted on the Capital Market.
According to him, revealing the figures will send panic to the market.
He also explained that the committee resorted to interfacing with individual companies rather than meeting with them in group to enable them to open up to the committee.
Uzodinma said the strategy had yielded positive result, particularly in recovering trapped funds.
“The companies are now free to admit and some of them have promised to make payments.
”Today alone, three companies came with receipts of payment.
”If we did not embark on this investigation, we would not make these recoveries.
”Through this investigation, we have helped the Federal Government to recover some money and we are sure that government will recover more money because we have detailed information that will aid more recovery.
”The companies are no longer contesting most of the documents of infractions we confronted them with.”
The chairman called for the support of relevant stakeholders including the media in the ongoing investigation.
He explained that the country would not be able to make the necessary progress if Nigerians were not committed in ensuring that national interest was continually protected.
He said though Nigeria was populated enough be known as giant of Africa, there was need for commensurate commitment by Nigerians.