Panel orders reopening of Patience Jonathan’s accounts
The Senate yesterday said that through its probe of revenue leakages, the collection banks had remitted N140 billion to the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
This disclosure was sequel to the consideration of the interim report of its Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff and Marine Transport on investigation of the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
Chairman of the committee, Hope Uzodinma, who presented the report, said the committee identified that there was undervaluation due to low ex-factory price, reduction in quantity or false description.
Uzodinma said that major sources of revenue losses in the import and export value chain were abuse of waivers and concessions and Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC).
Other abuses, according to him, are the diplomatic cargo and personal effects privilege to clear consignments meant for commercial use, multiple issuance of Tax Identification Number (TIN) to importers by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), among others.
He stated that the infractions within the system disproportionately distorted the economic profile of the economy and placed extensive pressures on the nation’s scarce foreign exchange, adding: “It also negates all CBN initiated foreign exchange management plans.”
In another development, the Senate’s Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions Committee investigating the petitions against the freezing of the accounts of former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has directed that they should be reopened.
The committee, after subjecting the management of four different banks where the First Lady had accounts, directed that those accounts not encumbered by any legal process be reopened.
It said that some of the accounts were frozen based on some administrative lapses.
The committee members, led by Sam Anyanwu, were particularly displeased with what they called arbitrary manner in which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) used the banks to close the accounts without complying with due process of law.
Meanwhile, the bank executives told the committee that the court order vacating the earlier ones relied upon by the EFCC to close the accounts were not made available to them.
They, therefore, promised to reopen those accounts having been made to know of the vacation order.
The committee expressed shock that the banks could rely on ordinary letter anticipating a favourable ruling to freeze customers’ account.