The House of Representatives Committee on Customs has threatened to issue a bench warrant on 26 firms for failing to submit relevant documents over Customs duty waivers they were granted by the Federal Government.
Recall that the committee, chaired by Abiodun Faleke, APC, Ikeja Federal Constituency, Lagos, had summoned fresh 41 companies, which led to the recovery of N400 million but 26 failed to honour its invitation after several letters were sent to them.
A source privy to this development told the Vanguard weekend: “Some of these companies that failed to appear had enjoyed Customs waivers running into several billions of naira as they imported far and above what is required for the waivers they benefitted.
“A particular company imported tiles for over 10 hectares of land in the name of building a five-star hotel and so many infractions that the Customs Committee has unearthed since the investigative hearing started in March.
“We also discovered that most of the erring companies have too many things to hide and the committee members have all vowed to unravel all those involved and dig deeper into the probe.”
When contacted, Chairman of the committee, Faleke confirmed the non-appearance of the companies and vowed to fish them out.
He said: “Our efforts are simply geared towards ensuring we support the anti-graft war of this administration.
‘You’ll recall the House in plenary on December 9, 2017, mandated the committee to investigate these alleged infractions of import procedures leading to monumental loss of revenue to the nation.
Faleke said some the indicted firms upon appearing before the House committee at an investigative hearing, admitted their guilt and agreed to pay the duty on the imported items.
“As you can see, we are not only concerned about how appropriated funds are utilized, but we are backing the government’s anti-corruption war by action of our own.
“We’ve gone out of our way to be revenue earners for the government and l can confidently inform you that companies that abused import duty waivers granted them have paid over N400 million into government coffers,” he said.
According to him, the committee summoned an additional 41 companies to appear before the House committee in relation to the import duty waiver abuse and that 26 are yet to appear.
Among the companies summoned previously are Dana Air, Bristol Helicopters, S V Hotels Ltd Abuja.
Faleke had disclosed that 29 firms involved in the import duty scam had earlier been summoned to appear before the committee to enable them clear the charges against them or face the wrath of the law.
He warned that all the companies invited were expected to appear on the date allotted to them unfailingly or risk sanctions by the House committee next Wednesday.
Some of the companies the House committee summoned then in connection with the alleged import duty waiver fraud are Seaview Emporium Limited, Pancham International Limited, Alfatek Integrated Ventures, Verona Industries Limited, Vital Products Limited, Odun & Remy Trading Company, Mac Resolute Service Limited, Viscous Global Investment Limited and Fadobra Ventures Limited.
Others include, China Homes and Office Equipment, Links World Redemption Enterprises, SCC Nigeria Limited, J.I. Ejison International Nigeria Limited, Tak Continental Limited, Metal African Steel Products Limited, Sunshine Guest House & Hotel Limited, Elim Top Suite Limited, Noktel Resort Hotel, Naks Hotels & Tower Limited, Luxurium Leisure Service and Chelsea Hotel.