Nigeria

Senate gives firms one week to file defense over alleged N30tn leakage

The Senate Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, and Marine Transport, has asked the over 30 companies quizzed this week over alleged complicity in the N30tn revenue loss in the import and export value chain to present their defense next week.

The investigative panel, at an investigative meeting with the affected companies in Abuja on Thursday, provided copies of documents detailing the alleged infractions by the companies to representatives of the companies, including a list of 2,554 shipments with infractions pertaining to unutilised Bill of Laden.

The Senate had mandated the panel to probe into the alleged over N30tn revenue leakages in the import and export value chain between 2006 and 2017.

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The committee had met with indicted commercial banks as well as government agencies, while it had penned down over 60 companies for investigation over their alleged sharp practices leading to revenue loss

Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, asked the companies to come back next Thursday with their defense. He said Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, for instance, had to come forward with its defense to be sourced from its bankers over alleged unutilised Form M amounting to N13bn.

“Our position is that if there is anything new, outside what we have submitted and presented to you, show us. Let us see that you paid the right duties and you will continue with your businesses. That is what we
are saying.

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“We will have to meet on Thursday. If there is anything you need like clarifications, you can consult with our secretariat,” he said.

The lawmaker decried that the free trade zones in Nigeria were being abused by corrupt companies, saying,

“The whole idea of free trade zones, I don’t know why it is still in operation in Nigeria. It is being abused.”

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