By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
After completing it investigation N30 trillion revenue scam, the Senate has announced plans to publish names of companies discovered during probe into the missing government revenue in the import and export value chain.
The lawmakers added that it had completed first batch of investigation involving over 60 companies and would publish names of companies involved in various infractions leading to loss of government revenue.
According to Chairman of the Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff and Marine Transport, Hope Uzodinma, the committee was releasing the names because it had established culpability against the companies.
Uzodinma, in an interview with newsmen on Sunday, added that the names to be published would contain details of how much of recoverable government revenue was with each of the companies.
The lawmaker stressed that companies found to be involved in infractions bothering on money laundering and foreign exchange abuses would be referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution and recovery of the monies.
He added that those bothering on smuggling and import infractions would be referred to the Nigeria Customs Service for recovery of such revenues and possibly blacklisting.
“We got up to the point that even the companies themselves have seen that they are culpable and that is why we want to publish the names and hand them over to EFCC and Customs. The reason for the delay in publishing the names all the while is to establish culpability against the companies. Now through various reconciliations, it has been established and we are no longer in doubt, including the companies that are involved, that these things are in existence and that they are culpable,” the chairman disclosed.
The lawmaker stated that the committee had presented the interim report to the senate which detailed how much was recovered and it has been approved, even as extension was issued on final reconciliation to the committee.
Uzodinma further hinted that some of the companies have started paying, though yet to completely pay funds established against them, while others have refused.
He noted that for those that have started paying, the committee has transfer their files to the Customs, who would complete the recovery exercise, just as the chiarman hinted that the committee would commence the second batch of investigation after some oversight visits to establish culpability.
Uzodinma assured residents that the committee would not be deterred in its effort to assist government in recovering monies meant for the development of the economy, stressing that the legislature would continue to use its constitutional powers to assist the executive in blocking leakages and increasing revenue generation, particularly in the non-oil sector.
The chiarman said it was appalling that in spite of government’s effort to improve revenue generation to meet the country’s development needs, some people were still involved in jeopardising such effort.
The joint committee was mandated by the Senate to carry out investigation into alleged N30 trillion revenue leakages in foreign exchange and the entire import and export value chain between 2006 and 2017.
It was mandated to identify leakages and irregularities in the system and come up with recommendations that would block further leakages and strengthen the revenue drive of the Nigeria Customs Service.
In an interim report presented to the Senate on Oct. 18, the committee said it had recovered N140 billion, with N128 billion remitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and that 60 companies made voluntary payment of over N12 billion to government based on internal self-audit after receiving documented evidence of culpability from the committee.
The report also indicated that the committee identified 32 leakage channels as the major sources of revenue loss in the import-export value chain, including undervaluation, wrong tariff classification and abuse of waivers and concessions.