N30trn Revenue Loss: Senate Quizzes Airtel, BUA, Others


In a bid to uncover the behind-the-scene dealings that led to the loss of about N3 trillion in revenue, the Senate Joint Committee on Customs and Marine Transport on Tuesday commenced the probe of no fewer than 60 companies to track revenue leakages in the import and export value chain.

Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who disclosed this at an investigative meeting with of some the companies in Abuja, said the lawmakers would do anything to recover the funds.

He said the companies would be invited in batches. Some of the companies invited for the meeting on Tuesday included CCEC Nigeria Ltd, China Export Ltd, CFAO Group, Chi Ltd, Bhojsons Ltd, Bharat Ventures Ltd, and Boulos Group. Others are African Wire and Allied Ltd, Admiral Overseas Nigeria Ltd, CKS International Ltd, Abyem-Diva International Ltd and Aarti Steel Nigeria Ltd.

“This is a continuation of the investigation that is ongoing and we have now started interfacing with the various companies that are directly involved in the infractions that we identified in the course of our investigation.

“Most of the companies have no evidence to show that our position is not correct. So it is our hope that working together whether you are from the executive arm, judiciary or the legislature, we must acknowledge the need for us to protect our national interest.

“We must grow this economy. Over the years we over relied on oil revenue. The only way to rescue the economy from the present state is to expand our sources of income by strengthening the non-oil revenue earnings.

“The companies have pleaded to come back on Tuesday, and then we will invite the Nigerian Customs Service to issue necessary demand notice to all established cases. Then, the companies will make payments into the federation account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),’’ he said.

On why the investigation had lingered for long, Uzodinma said it was in different stages.
He said the committee had interfaced with the commercial banks, collecting banks and the various agencies of government.

According to him, the committee was meeting with the companies for the first time. “It won’t be out of place to give them one week to get back to us. We will do this to satisfy the doctrine of fair hearing and if there is anything they have to say to the contrary, they will have the opportunity to defend themselves.

“We do hope that after the session, government will be able to earn more money,’’ he said.

The chairman said with the success achieved so far, the committee would do its best to bring the investigation to conclusion in no distant time, adding that the committee had already identified about 60 companies whose infractions were within the range of N10 billion and above after which we will move to the next batch.

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