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Reps unearth firms defrauding through waivers; insist on forensic tests

By Emman Ovuakporie

ABUJA—THE House of Representatives Committee on Customs, yesterday, unearthed companies alleged to have been defaulting and abusing waivers since 2010.

This was revealed when some of the companies summoned by the House Committee on Customs did not come with valid documents, prompting the Chairman of the Committee, James Faleke (APC, Lagos), to adjourn the investigative hearing.

House of Representatives

Vanguard, however, learned that one of the companies, which got a waiver to supply 20,000 water heaters, only supplied 350.

Some other companies that got waivers for specific items used the opportunity to import tiles and sundry items for their benefits.

Frauds

For example, a firm (name withheld) got waiver to import ceramic tiles, but imported more than required, to avoid payment of duty.

Other companies that got waivers to build and equip hotels to aid hospitality sector never did so, but used the opportunity to enrich themselves.

The implication, according to the Customs Committee Chairman, was that the companies flooded the market with the products they imported to the detriment of local companies producing same products.

Faleke said: “We will use forensic tests to further check all documents produced by the importers invited, who we know are short-changing the Federal Government through waivers.”

…last year

Recall that because of this development, the Customs Committee had, last year, summoned the management of the Customs and Excise, Central Bank of Nigeria, Accountant General of the Federation, importers, chief executives of commercial banks and other stakeholders over alleged abuses of import duty waivers and under-payment of import duty since 2010.

Faleke had, during the investigative hearing, frowned at the abuse of import duty waivers.

 


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