The Senate has concluded plans to publish the names of companies found culpable in the first phase of its investigation into the alleged N30tn revenue scam in Nigeria’s import and export value chain.
The Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, and Marine Transport, Senator Hope Uzodinma, made this known to journalists in Abuja on Sunday.
Uzodinma said the committee had concluded the first phase of its investigation involving over 60 companies and would publish the names of firms found to be involved in various infractions leading to the loss of revenue by the Federal Government.
He added that the committee would release the names as it had established the culpability of the firms in the scam, stressing that apart from the names, details of recoverable revenue with each of the companies would be published.
Uzodinma also said companies indicted for infractions relating to money laundering and foreign exchange abuses would be referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution and recovery of revenue.
He added that those bordering on smuggling and import infractions would be referred to the Nigeria Customs Service for recovery of such revenue and possible blacklisting.
Uzodinma said, “We have got 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 the EFCC and the 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.
“We have presented the interim report, which detailed how much we have recovered so far and the Senate approved it in plenary, while an extension was given to us to do the final reconciliation.
“We do not want emphasis to continue to be on how much we have recovered, even though it is contained in the report. We want those companies found culpable to go to government and make payments.”
Uzodinma said it was appalling that in spite of government’s effort to improve revenue generation to meet the country’s developmental needs, some people were involved in acts capable of jeopardising such effort.
The panel chair added, “Some of the companies have started paying while others have not. None of them has fully paid what we have established against them. Since they have started paying, we will now transfer the matter to the Customs, who will now do a recovery schedule with the companies that are willing, voluntarily, to pay what is due to the government.
“By the time the names are published, Nigerians and the Federal Government will know which company is owing what and the relevant agencies will go after them to recover the money.’’
Uzodinma disclosed that the committee would commence the second batch of investigation after some oversight visits to establish their culpability.
He stated that the panel would not be deterred in its effort to assist government in recovering monies meant for the development of the economy.
The senator stressed that the legislature would continue to use its constitutional power s to assist the executive in blocking leakages and increasing revenue generation, particularly in the non-oil sector.
The Senate had mandated the joint committee to probe the alleged N30tn revenue leakages in the 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 October 18, 2017, the committee said it had so far recovered N140bn.
The report indicated that some collection banks had made remittances to the Central Bank of Nigeria to the tune of N128bn with evidence of payment and receipt received by the committee.