OrderPaperToday – A probe into alleged $30billion revenue scam by the House of Representatives joint committee on finance; banking and currency operations commenced on Monday despite a move by a commercial bank, Stanbic IBTC, to stall the exercise.
The bank told the committee that its customers had filed a lawsuit against the House of Representatives refraining it from demanding their financial documents.
The alleged scam concerns tax evasion, misuse and abuse of foreign exchange allocations, among others to the tune of $30billion, and is said to involve multi-national oil companies and financial services providers.
The probe committee had last week threatened to issue bench warrants against some of the companies for snubbing demands for relevant documents. The exercise is a fall-out from a resolution of the House made on March 5, 2020.
While representatives of the five banks slated for the day’s hearing showed up, officials of Stanbic IBTC Bank, led by Mr. Ngaragu John, told the committee that customers had filed a lawsuit to prevent the disclosure of their banking documentation to the hearing.
This alibi was however rebuffed by the chairman, committee on finance, Mr. James Faleke, who argued that the suit would not stop the House from carrying out its duties.
The probe is to continue throughout this week and banks and other relevant corporate bodies are expected to appear with documents.
Earlier in his welcome address, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the hearing is not to witch-hunt or declare anybody guilty but to block financial leakages in the country.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Faleke assured Nigerians that the committee would do all that is humanly possible to block all leakages of the country’s revenue.