OrderPaperToday – The Senate has informed of plans to unravel how over N4 trillion was lost due to revenue leakage in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, which gave this information said the period under review will cover between 2006 and 2016.
Its Chairman, Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo) who disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, weekend, said the committee would stop at nothing in unraveling the missing money.
Sen. Uzodinma said preliminary investigations revealed that the N4 trillion leakage was as a result of various forms of infractions, including abuse and non implementation of Foreign Exchange Forms.
According to him, other factors responsible for the leakage were wrong classification of cargo under Harmonised System Codes, non screening of cargoes coming into Nigeria and lack of adequate ICT infrastructure for revenue collection, stressing that cancellation of pre-arrival assessment reports, abandonment of single goods declaration were equally responsible for the leakage.
He said: “The committee frowns at the quantum of revenue losses and it will stop at nothing in ensuring that those involved in this ugly act would return all recoverable monies with them.
“The committee also frowns at the level of collusion and corruption within the Customs Service. At the end of our current investigation, all these will become a thing of the past and customs revenue will be enhanced and non oil revenue will be improved upon.
“What we are investigating is not money spent. It is the leakages. For instance, I am supposed to pay XYZ amount of duty, I will abandon the documentation, go get fake documents, collude with customs, pay maybe a fraction of it and carry my goods. With that, the true import circle is not closed.
“Another instance is that assessment is abandoned or I fill the form M for example with a pro forma invoice, apply for foreign exchange in Central Bank, XYZ amount of money is allocated to me, money moves in but no goods shipped. I will then go get fake documents, collude with customs and then retire the allocation.
“We will not mention the companies involved because we are also very careful of the integrity and public perception of some of these companies, being that some of them are in the Stock Market. We will be diplomatic in carrying out this investigation.
“This is to the extent that little or damage will be done to the integrity and image of such companies provided that government revenues in their hands will be recovered.”