Customs Revenue Fraud: N140bn Recovered From Erring Firms, Banks, Says Senate C’ttee

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  •  University of Health Sciences Bill passes second reading

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Senate Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff and Marine Transport has disclosed that about N140 billion has been returned to the coffers of the government by firms and banks found culpable in its investigations into revenue leakages in the Nigeria Customs Service.

This is as the Senate granted an eight-week extension to the committee which held its first sitting on July 20, 2017.
The Committee Chairman, Senator Hope Uzodimma presenting the interim report yesterday, said the remittances were made by collection banks and some companies.

“As a result of this exercise, some collection banks have made additional remittances to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to the tune of N128 billion and evidence of payment and reciept have been recieved by the committee.
“From the selected 60 companies, over N12 billion payments have been made to the government voluntarily by the companies based on their own internal self audit after receiving documented evidence of their culpability from our committee,” he said.

Uzodimma added that despite the payments, none of the approved collection banks or selected companies have fully cleared the established liabilities against them.
The interim report was however silent on the names of the banks and companies and details of their refunds to the government.
The committee identified several revenue leakage channels to include undervaluation, wrong tariff classification, misuse of procedure codes, abuse of waivers and concessions, and abuse of diplomatic cargo and personal effects privilege to clear consignments actually meant for commercial use.

Other channels include falsification of import documentation such as pro-forma invoice, final invoice and bills of laden, non-imputation of vehicle identification number in inspection acts in order to undervalue vehicles.
The committee also identified sale of bulk forms M and pre-arrival assessment report by importers and clearing agents and submission of forged documents for pre arrival assessment reports.
In another development, the Senate yesterday passed through second reading the bill seeking the establishment of the Federal University of Health Science, Otukpo.

The bill is sponsored by the former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark (Benue PDP).
Mark harped on the need for the country to produce more health professionals to bridge the gap in the demand for skilled health workers in the sector.