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Opinions differ on how best to handle N30tn revenue loss as 11 firms own up

Suggestions are beginning to grow on how best to track the observed N30tn infractions believed to have perpetuated by some named mega companies following the recent indications presented by 11 of the named firms at the floor of the Senate public hearing seating on Wednesday.

Whereas some experts say it’s better to transfer the files and further investigations to the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), others agree that the Senate Committee currently handling the matter is capable to follow the cases to their logical conclusion.

To this school of thought, the Senate Committee at the end of hearings can recommend for court trial of culpable companies or just recovery of the funds by working out repayment schedules as their cases may be.

It would be recalled that on Wednesday, about 11 out of the 30 companies accused of complicity in the N30 trillion revenue loss in Nigeria’s import and export value chain appeared before the Senate and owned up to the allegations.

Their appearances seemed to have been powered by the issuance of tease warrant of arrest on their management.

Upon being quizzed by the lawmakers, the companies admitted to various levels of infractions in respect to the revenue loss matter being probed by the Senate.

Lead by Senator Hope Uzodinma, representing Orlu Senatorial Constituency of Imo State, the Joint Committees on Customs, Excise and Tariff; and Marine Transport had last Friday issued a warrant for the arrest of the chief executive officers of 30 of the accused companies for failing to honour the committee’s invitation.

Out of the 29 firms, only officials of Dana Group, China Export, Emel Group, Halliburton, Bhojson Plc, Bharat Ventures Ltd, Bua International Ltd, Friesland Campina, Boulos Group, CFAO Group and British American Tobacco Company appeared before the Senate Committee.

Senator Uzodinma who addressed the hearing in his opening remarks noted that “Some of the companies that appeared before us today have also committed to our success by way of making some admissions here and there”.

“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 in which their companies are complicit in and to resolve issues going forward to ensure government collects necessary revenues that have not been collected before this time and then block areas of leakages in such a manner that our national interest will be protected.

“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.

“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”, Chief Uzodinma noted.