Published On: Wed, Aug 9th, 2017

N30 Trillion Fraud: Some Company’s CEO Secretly Admit Involvement, Says Senate Probe Panel

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By Nuel Suji – The Senate’s Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff; and Marine Transport, revealed Wednesday that some Chief Executive officers have already owned up to their company’s involvement in N30 trillion revenue leakages probe embarked upon by the senate.

Companies present in the closed-door meeting were Dana Group, China Export, Emel Group Halliburton, Bhojson Plc, Bharat Ventures Ltd, Bua International Ltd, Friesland Campinai, Boulos Group, CFAO Group, British American Tobacco Company‎.

Briefing journalists at the end of the closed-door meeting with CEOs, Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, disclosed that some companies involved have expressed their willingness to cooperate with the ‎committee on its investigation.

“Some of the companies that appeared before us today have also committed to our success by way of making some admissions here and there.

‎Uzodinma told the gathering that, “if there is anybody who is still in doubt whether there are recoverable revenues of government in the hands of these companies, by the admission of some of them, it means that the person should better wake up,” he hinted.

On why the committee decided to meet behind closed door, the joint committee chairman said‎ some of the affected companies demanded for secret meeting in order to protect their business secret.

“It became very necessary for us to speak to you this afternoon because as you must have observed we now decided to take the companies one after the other rather than the general group thing.

“The reason is that some of the companies approached the committee and have expressed their willingness to support our investigation because the process of the investigation may require them revealing some of their trade secrets,” Uzodinma said.

Adding that: “In other not to breach the secrecy that has to do with their business modules, we agreed to their terms because our interest is to achieve result.

He assured that the committee will handle the investigation in a way that would ensure market stability so as not to generate any panic.

“We don’t want to create unnecessary panic in the market.

“Some of the companies are public quoted companies. So our interest is to confront them with the infractions we identified that their companies are involved in and to resolve issues going forward to ensure government collects necessary revenues that have not been collected before this time and then block the areas of leakages in such a manner that our national interest will be protected,” Uzodinma further said.

According to him, “If there is anybody who is still in doubt whether there are recoverable revenues of government in the hands of these companies, by the admission of some of them, it means that the person should better wake up.

He urged for public support for the senate saying, “we are all very serious men and women. Professionals in different fields of endeavor and when we have decided to come here to serve the country, we mean every word of it.

“What we are doing and showing by this investigation is that the country can be better and that we can move from where we are now to where we expect the country to be.

“The media should support the senate. This job seems to be a thankless one but for the interest of our country, it has become necessary that we make the sacrifice and that is what we are doing.

“Initially some of these agencies of government and some private companies were reluctant in attending or honouring senate invitation.

“With the threat and the support of the police, they have all responded.

“We have seen 11 of them today and we will continue until we have exhausted all the companies.

“This investigation is a mandate from plenary and is ongoing but we will not disclose everything now because there are things we will do or say that will mar the success of the investigation.

“We are not shrouding anything in secret, the public is also interested in this investigation and you know the stock exchange is an important platform for trade in Nigeria. There is a signal we will get to the market that will destroy the image and integrity of these companies.

“From what we are seeing from some of the infractions. Even now that they are willing to make up their shortcomings were committed by some of the agents that were authorized to carry out some of these activities on their behalf.

“We have not arrived at any conclusion because the investigation is still on. The final day, we will do a full blown press briefing so that Nigeria will know the outcome of our exercise.”

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