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Reps probe alleged $30b revenue leakage, passport racketeering

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Faleke

The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged $30 billion revenue leakages in the Federation Account.

Adopting a motion sponsored by James Faleke at the plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, the lower legislative chamber alleged that the leakages occurred as a result of tax evasion, malpractices, misuse and diversion of foreign exchange allocations by companies and other entities.

Consequently, the House directed its Committee on Finance and Banking and Currency to investigate matter by looking into the various originating documents maintained by the CBN, banks, forex dealers, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (F IRS), importers and other beneficiary companies.

Besides, the panel is to fish out the perpetrators and the atrocities committed based on verifiable documents as well as the amount involved for the timely recoveries.

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The committee, which is billed to turn in its report within two weeks, was mandated to make a formal report of its findings and recommendations to check future occurrence.

It is also to advise the Green Chamber on the statutory provisions/amendment for penalties as provided in the extant laws relating to the offences to serve as a deterrent to others.

Faleke, while moving the motion, regretted that Nigeria was finding it difficult to fund the capital component of its appropriation year in year owing to paucity of money which low remittances by revenue generating agencies as well as low payment of taxes by private companies and diversion of revenues by corporate organisations are not helping matter.

Stressing the urgent need to rescue the country from over the huge leakages, the Lagos APC lawmaker claimed that there were proforma invoices over statement by importers with the intention of obtaining huge forex allocations at the detriment of the economy.

He alleged that there were fictitious transfers of forex for payments of dividends to foreign shareholders of indigenous companies above the dividend approved by their boards and their audited accounts, thereby leading to evasion of statutory 30 per cent company income tax thereof.

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Faleke further alleged allocation of foreign exchange to companies for the repayment of principal foreign loan and interest that were in some cases found to be non-existing, but rather a fictitious loan backed by a mere packaged documents without evidence of utilisation in Nigeria and related taxes paid.

Moreover, the chamber yesterday urged its Committee on Interior to investigate the alleged passport racketeering and other corrupt practices at the offices of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

It also implored the Federal Government to ensure that all payments to the service were effected through the appropriate TSA channel, stating that anyone violates the terms of the policy should made to face the full wrath of the law.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the need to investigate the alleged extortion, passport racketeering and corrupt practices by officials of the NIS sponsored by Chinedu Ogah at plenary.

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