The Senate has commenced investigation into alleged N4 trillion revenue leakage in the Nigeria Customs Service between 2006 and 2016.
Speaking on Sunday with newsmen in Abuja, the Chairman of the Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, said that the committee would stop at nothing in recovering the money, which was lost to lapses and various infractions.
Uzodinma further explained that preliminary investigation by the committee revealed that the over N4 trillion revenue leakage was due to abuse and non-implementation of Form M (Foreign Exchange forms).
He added that wrong classification of cargo under HS Code (Harmonised System Codes), non-screening of cargoes coming into Nigeria and lack of adequate ICT infrastructure for revenue collection, were equally responsible.
The chairman added that cancellation of pre-arrival assessment reports and abandonment of single goods declaration were equally responsible for the leakage.
“The Senate Committee on Customs has condemned the inability of the technical committee on the implementation of comprehensive import supervision scheme to ensure that provisions of Import Control Management Act are followed to the latter.
“The committee frowns at the quantum of revenue losses and it will stop at nothing in ensuring that those involved in this ugly act return all recoverable monies with them.
“The committee also frowns at the level of collusion and corruption within the Customs Service.
“At the end of our current investigation, all these will become a thing of the past and customs revenue will be enhanced while non oil revenue will be improved upon.
“What we are investigating is not money spent. It is the leakages.
“For instance, I am supposed to pay XYZ amount of duty, I will abandon the documentation, go get fake documents, collude with customs, pay maybe a fraction of it and carry my goods. With that, the true import circle is not closed.
“Another instance is that assessment is abandoned or I fill the form M for example with a pro forma invoice, apply for foreign exchange in Central Bank, XYZ amount of money is allocated to me, money moves in but no goods shipped.
“ I will then go get fake documents, collude with customs and then retire the allocation,’’ he said.