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Alleged N62bn under remittance: Senate probes Customs

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Customs' revenue rises by 74% in one year

The Public Account Committee of the Nigerian senate has begun investigation into how Nigerian Customs Service failed to remit N62bn it generated.

The query is contained in the 2017 Auditor General Report, which is currently being considered by the committee chaired by Senator Ahmed Wadada.

“In the report of NCS summary of the monthly collection, 2017 total collection for the Federation Account were N691bn,” the query read in part.

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“However, the receipt of NCS collection and remittance into Federation Account 2017 showed actual remittance into Federation Account with the CBN for the year under review to be N629bn. A comparison of these two documents revealed an under-remittance N62bn.

“There was no footnote or any form of additional information attached to the two reports showing the reasons for the discrepancies neither there was any form of communication of the management on the intention for the future reconciliation or remittance.

“The above anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters in Abuja.”

The chairman of the committee, therefore, gave the Customs two weeks to come up with their defence on the allegation of under-remittance.

In a related development, the Senate has mandated the Nigerian Port Authority to appear before it over $852m debt by operators.

Wadada added, “The committee, under my stewardship with support of my distinguished members, has had cause to say this not once, not twice, that we should understand that audited or Auditor-General’s report is not an indictment on any ministry, department or agencies of government, but rather a wake-up call for us to know what was wrongly committed by who.

“Going forward, we should find way to correct the wrong to make the system better and we move on to the greater heights.

“Today, the committee is compelled to say what I am going to say concerning the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA. Nigeria Ports Authority is found wanting on both ends, one, on the Auditor General for the Federation’s annual report and also, on ends of the status enquiry.

“There are issues around Lagos channel management, Bonny channel management and of course, Calabar channel management. On these issues, the Committee respectfully wrote the management of NPA management . some of the communications were responded to, and some are yet to be responded to.

“Today the Nigeria Ports Authority supposed to have appeared before this committee so that we look at queries raised by the Auditor General for the Federation.

“The management team is not here, the MD, Directors and other top management are not here. They rather chose to send a General Manager to us and at a time the NPA was called to the table, the General Manager was unavoidably absent. Though, she later came and complained that she went for her medication.”

 

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