By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committee on Customs on Wednesday resumed investigative hearing on alleged none remittances of N10.6 billion of customs and excise duties collected by five commercial banks.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Leke Abejide (ADC-Kogi) at the hearing said that the committee is determined to recover all unremitted funds and block all leakages before the end of 2021.
He said that the committee is working with the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the recovery mission.
The lawmaker said that the commercial banks are Guarantee Trust Bank, United Bank of African (UBA) Echo Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Providus Bank.
Abejide said that for the amount being disputed, all the banks should provide all necessary document to the auditors for reconciliation and onward payment.
“We have been on this assignment for about a year now, it is because of COVID-19 that we could not do much last year but we are determined to finish it before the end of 2021.
“The assignment is so important because the major issues confronting Nigeria today is inadequate revenue and this is as a result of leakages everywhere.
“We are going to make sure that any money belonging to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) that have not been given to them or that is being delayed or used for business is recovered, we are determined.
“We have not done much, we have only checked five banks and we have discovered N10.6 billion,’’ he said.
In their responses, Guarantee Trust Bank, Echo Bank, Providus Bank and Standard Chartered Bank told the committee that they had remitted all duties collected.
The commercial banks which were represented by top officials said that the disputed amount could be reconciled if the auditors sit with the banks to compare notes.
The committee resolved that the commercial bank interface with the auditors, reconcile grey areas and report to the committee within two weeks.
The committee, however, sent out the representatives of the United Bank of African (UBA) from the hearing because no top official of the bank accompanied the delegation.