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Nigeria’s Senate summons Glo over alleged N30trn revenue leakage

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

The Senate on Wednesday gave
executives of Glo Mobile and other firms allegedly involved in N30
trillion Federal Government revenue leakage till Thursday to appear
before it for defence. The other
companies given the deadline by the Senate Joint Committee on Customs,
Excise and Tariff and Marine Transport, probing the revenue loss are
British American Tobacco Company, CCEC Nigeria Ltd and Dana Group.

Also
affected are African Wire and Allied Ltd, Admiral Overseas Nigeria
Ltd., Aarti Steel Nigeria Ltd., Gagsel International, Fries Land Capina,
Etco Nigeria Ltd and Encounter Ltd.
They also include Edic Chemicals and Allied Distributors Ltd, Don Climax Group and De United Foods
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, gave the ultimatum at an investigative meeting with some of the firms in Abuja.
He
decried the failure of the firms to honour the committee’s invitation
to Wednesday’s meeting, saying it was disrespect to the National
Assembly and would not be tolerated.
Uzodinma said that of the 30 firms invited between Tuesday and Wednesday, only 14 appeared before members of the committee.
According
to him, the chief executive officers are expected to cut short whatever
engagement they have to honour the invitation in view of the magnitude
of the investigation.
“It is only in
Nigeria that the Senate will invite an entity for an interactive
session, particularly in a case that borders on investigation, financial
mismanagement and infractions, and the company will be complacent.
“The companies will not be willing to come or sometimes send junior officers.
“I
have directed, and we are working with security agencies, that any
company that is invited and has something to explain and refuses to
appear, we will issue a warrant for such persons to be arrested.
“We are giving them the final opportunity to appear and if they fail, we will issue a warrant of arrest.
“In this investigation, we are working with the Nigeria Police.
“This
is because we are using their facilities to process some of our data so
that the information we will present to the public will be information
with high integrity that will not be questioned by anybody.
“We have directed that the firms must come tomorrow, Thursday unfailingly,’’ he said.
Addressing
representatives of firms present at the meeting, Uzodinma said that
they would be given documents arising from the investigation carried out
by the committee to study and comply.
He
said that the documents specified the various forms of infractions
carried out by each of the firms involved in the import and export value
chain.
“We have put everything in
different categories and for category one, it is unutilised Form M. You
applied for Form M and approval and allocation were given.
“But, rather than import with the allocation, God knows what happened because you did not do that.
“Then
pre-arrival assessment report that was issued, you abandoned them yet
you took your goods. We do not know how you took the goods away and the
money is still open in the data base.
“Then Single Goods Declarations (SGDs) which you people did by yourself then abandoned and yet collected your goods.
“These are all indicated in the documents we have handed over to you.
“So,
if there are such legitimate approvals, we want to see a copy,
otherwise we will assume that they were not cancelled, in which case we
will be expecting you to make payment,’’ he told them.
“On
classification, we have cases where a pre-arrival assessment is carried
out and a particular item is classified under a particular HS (Tariff
Handbook) Code.
“When you now go
to SGD, if it is a classification of 35 per cent, you see that you
declared five per cent instead of the 35 per cent that was issued to
you.
“So, we have worked out the
difference. Unless there is evidence that what you shipped were no
longer what came to Nigeria which we doubt, you will be liable.
“Then,
wrong classification is another category. That one deals directly with
those bringing vehicles with reverse gear and you declare them as CKD.
“For
instance, Dag Motorcycle Industries Ltd, when you bring in tricycle
which has reverse gear, there are cases where they are classified
wrongly.
“All these must be
submitted on Monday so that by Wednesday we will be able to deal with
definite figures on what amount of money that we should be expecting to
receive as unutilised foreign exchange allocation,’’
he added.
The lawmaker expressed concern that most approved Form Ms were not given to genuine users, leading to increasing exchange rate.
He
said the committee would ensure that henceforth, foreign exchange was
given to genuine importers to strengthen the Naira against foreign
currencies as well as improve employment opportunities, among other
benefits.
He stressed that the committee was extending its investigation to the operation of Free Trade Zone Agreement.
Uzodinma said, “most
of you who have been importing in the name of free trade zone, under
that policy you know you have to do 30 per cent value addition.
“But,
we have identified all the trade free zones that imported finished
goods and those goods did not even get to the free trade zones.
“The
goods ended up in the various warehouses in Apapa, and when they make
the money, because there is no documentation, they have surplus Naira.
“With
the surplus Naira, they in turn buy dollar at any rate and in the
process kill our local manufacturers, who really want dollar to be able
to do their businesses.’’

The
joint committee was mandated by the Senate to carry out holistic
investigation into alleged N30 trillion revenue leakages in foreign
exchange and the entire import and export value chain between 2006 and
2017.
The committee has so far met with
all indicted commercial banks as well as government agencies and is
currently meeting with the companies alleged to be involved in the
unwholesome acts.

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Written by Ike Ani

Ike Ani is a Freelance writer whose quest constantly is to relate happenings around the world to human daily living. He's also a song writer and singer, Acoustic Guitarist, and Teacher.

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