Se­nate C’ttee Vows to Con­tinue In­ves­ti­ga­tion into Al­leged N30tn Rev­enue Scam

THISDAY - - NEWSEXTRA - In Abuja

Damilola Oyedele

The Chair­man of the Se­nate Joint Com­mit­tee on Cus­toms, Ex­cise and Tar­iff and Marine Trans­port, Se­na­tor Hope Uzodimma, has pledged the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the com­mit­tee to con­tinue its on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged N30tillion rev­enue scam in the im­port and ex­port chain.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by the com­mit­tee’s me­dia con­sul­tant, Mr. Duro Me­seko, Uzodimma said this after meet­ing with some of the in­vited com­pa­nies in Abuja yes­ter­day where he added that the in­ter­est of the Se­nate in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was to as­sist the gov­ern­ment to re­cover monies trapped in the im­port and ex­port chain.

‘’There are al­le­ga­tions that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is borne out of per­sonal in­ter­est. ‘Once a Se­nate in a com­mit­tee of the whole passes a res­o­lu­tion such as this, it can­not be termed as the de­ci­sion of a sin­gle se­na­tor. You may not like my face as a per­son but it is im­por­tant to look at the cred­i­bil­ity of the work we are do­ing.”

‘’This is so that to­gether we will suc­ceed in mak­ing sure that the im­port ex­port cir­cle is sani­tised, trade is fa­cil­i­tated and non-oil rev­enue is re­cov­ered and strength­ened. In that man­ner, gov­ern­ment will not rely so much on oil, and with that, whether crude oil is sold or not,’’ Uzodimma said.

The se­na­tor fur­ther stated that while some de­trac­tors had al­leged that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was a sham, some of the in­dicted com­pa­nies had started re­fund­ing money run­ning into bil­lions of naira to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment

‘’As a re­sult of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the banks which are the au­tho­rised deal­ers in the ex­port and im­port chain have been mak­ing ef­fort to re­mit ev­ery­thing col­lected by them to the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN). We are do­ing this on a friendly note be­cause we do not want to send a wrong sig­nal to the mar­ket. Al­though more funds other than the N120 bil­lion I an­nounced some time ago have been re­cov­ered but be­cause we do not want to send the wrong sig­nal we are lim­ited to speak fur­ther on how much has been re­cov­ered so far. How­ever, we will def­i­nitely come up with the fig­ures re­cov­ered at the end of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ‘’ he said.

Uzodimma ex­plained that the com­mit­tee was sav­ing the fig­ures till the end of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause some of the com­pa­nies were quoted on the cap­i­tal mar­ket and would not want to send panic to the mar­ket.

He also ex­plained that the com­mit­tee re­sorted to in­ter­fac­ing with in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies rather than meet­ing with them in group, adding that the strat­egy had yielded pos­i­tive re­sult.

“The com­pa­nies are now free to ad­mit and some of them have promised to make pay­ments. To­day alone, three com­pa­nies came with re­ceipts of pay­ment. If we did not em­bark on this in­ves­ti­ga­tion, we would not make these re­cov­er­ies. Through this in­ves­ti­ga­tion we have helped the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to re­cover some money, and we are sure that gov­ern­ment will re­cover more money be­cause we have de­tailed in­for­ma­tion that will aid more re­cov­ery. The com­pa­nies so far are no longer con­test­ing most of the doc­u­ments of in­frac­tions we con­fronted them with” Uzodimma dis­closed.

The chair­man called for the sup­port rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the me­dia in the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He added that the coun­try would not be able to make the nec­es­sary progress if Nige­ri­ans were not com­mit­ted in en­surimg that na­tional in­ter­est was con­tin­u­ally pro­tected.

Uzodimma said though Nige­ria was pop­u­lated enough to be known as the gi­ant of Africa, there was a need for com­men­su­rate com­mit­ment by cit­i­zens.

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