Reps resume probe of unremitted N10.6bn Customs duty

House of Representatives

House of Representatives

By EricJames Ochigbo

The House of Representatives Committee on Customs, on Wednesday, resumed its investigative hearing on the alleged non-remittance of N10.6 billion Customs and Excise duties collected by five commercial banks.

Chairman of the committee, Rep. Leke Abejide (ADC-Kogi) said at the hearing that the committee was determined to recover all unremitted funds and block all leakages before the end of 2021.

He said that the committee was working with the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the recovery mission.

The lawmaker identified the commercial banks involved as Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), United Bank of Africa (UBA) Eco Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Providus Bank.

Abejide said that for the amount being disputed all the banks involved should provide all necessary documents to the auditors for reconciliation and onward payment.

“We have been on this assignment for about a year now, it is because of COVID-19 that we could not do much last year, but we are determined to finish it before the end of 2021.

“The assignment is so important because the major issue confronting Nigeria today is inadequate revenue and this is as a result of leakages everywhere.

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“We are going to make sure that any money belonging to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) that have not been given to them or that is being delayed or used for business is recovered. We are determined.

“We have not done much, we have only checked five banks and we have discovered N10.6 billion,’’ he said.

In their responses, Guarantee Trust Bank, Eco Bank, Providus Bank and Standard Chartered Bank told the committee that they had remitted all duties collected.

Represented by their top officials, the banks said that the disputed amount could be reconciled if the auditors were to sit with the banks to compare documents.

The committee resolved that the commercial bank should interface with the auditors, reconcile grey areas and report back to it within two weeks.

However, the committee walked out representatives of the United Bank of African (UBA) from the hearing because no top official of the bank accompanied the team.

NAN