30 TRILLION PROBE: INDICTED BANKS TO RETURN 130 BILLION NAIRA

The Senate Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs; and Marine Transport on Wednesday claimed that it had recovered over N140bn from banks and companies following its probe into the alleged loss of N30tn in Nigeria’s import and export value chain.

It said the recovered funds had been deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

This was contained in an interim report by the panel, which the Senate considered and adopted at its plenary on Wednesday sitting.

“From the selected 60 companies, over N12bn payments have been made to the government voluntarily by the companies based on their internal self-audit after receiving documented evidence of their culpability from our committee.

“It is instructive to note that despite all the payments so far made, none of the approved collection banks or the selected companies has fully cleared the established liabilities against them.”

The committee however asked for additional eight weeks to carry out its investigations, saying the banks and companies currently under investigation represented less than one per cent of the entire import and export value chain.

The panel listed 32 “leakage channels” it identified as the “major sources of revenue losses” in the import and export business.

It said, “These infractions within the system disproportionately distort the economic profile of the country and place extensive pressure on the nation’s scarce foreign exchange.

“It also negates all Central Bank of Nigeria initiated foreign exchange management plans. This is because a distorted forex requirement does not essentially reflect the actual forex needs of individuals and businesses in the country.

“This situation benefits only the purveyors of capital flight from the country and adds absolutely no value to the nation.”

The Majority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, urged the lawmakers to give the committee more time to carry out the probe, considering the amount of money it claimed to have recovered.

Copyright PUNCH.

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