Published On: Thu, Oct 19th, 2017

Senate Panel Says FOREX Regime Engenders Money Laundering, Bank Racket, Recovers N140 Billion From Banks, Firms

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By Nuel Suji – The Senate Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff and Marine Transport on said it has recovered a sum of N140 billion from unnamed banks and companies.

Just as it discovered fault in the FOREX regime of the past 10 years including the Muhammadu Buhari led government which it says engenders a thriving money laundering and forex round tripping racket.

“From our established records, it is obvious that well over 65 percent of our forex allocation have no positive impact on the Nigerian economy but rather engender a thriving money laundering and forex round tripping racket.

Senate had in November last year mandated its Committee on Customs and Excise to carryout holistic investigation into the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service with a view to identifying the leakages and irregularities.

However, the chairman of the Joint Committees, Senator Hope Uzodinma who informed the senators of recovered N140 billion, Wednesday, said the money has been remitted into the coffers of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with evidence of payment.

He revealed that over 65 percent of nation’s forex allocation have no positive impact on the Nigerian economy but rather engender a thriving money laundering and forex round tripping racket.

Uzodinma said, “As a result of this exercise, some collection banks have made additional remittance to the Central Bank of Nigeria, to the tune of N128 billion and evidence of payment and receipt have been received by the committee.

“From selected 60 companies, over N120 billion payments have been made to the government voluntarily by the companies based on their own internal self -audit after receiving documented evidence of their culpability from our committee

“It is instructive to note that despite all the payments so far made, none of the approved collection banks or selected companies have fully cleared the established liabilities against them.

“From our established records, it is obvious that well over 65 percent of our forex allocation have no positive impact on the Nigerian economy but rather engender a thriving money laundering and forex round tripping racket.

“The committee identified a huge mismatch between the actual remittance to the Central Bank and duty, taxes, and levies collected by the approved collection banks. Evidence of these identified shortfalls has been presented to the commercial banks for their review.”

The committee however demanded for another 8 weeks for a thorough work on the report.

“It is our view that within the next 8 weeks, the ongoing stages highlighted in the report would have been successfully concluded,  thus enabling this committee to deliver a compelling and comprehensive report that will emphatically signpost a departure from the past and bear eloquent testimony to the strides achieved by this present 8th Senate,” Committee chairman said.

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