Politics

Reps Summons Minister Over N32bn Revenue Loss

By Joshua Omoloye, Abuja

Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber, the House of Representatives, has summoned Trade and Industry minister, Chief Niyi Adebayo, over Federal Government’s loss of over N32 billion revenue in the Export Free Trade Zones.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Oluwole Oke (PDP-Osun), invoked the summon order on Thursday at the ongoing Committee public hearing following the absence of the Minister who was expected to shed lights on the claims of companies indicted by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF).

The Ministry had been accused of issuing fake Certificates of Capital Compliance for tax waivers.

The multinational companies in the Free Trade Zone were said to be parading fake Capital Compliance Certificates over the years which had cost huge loss revenues expected to be collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS.

According to Oke, “during the course of our investigations, the companies claimed that the Ministry issued them with Capital Compliance Certificates and in our wisdom, we decided to summon the Minister to confirm, we have extended several invitations to him but as we speak, he is yet to honour our invitation.

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“Consequently, the Committee is calling on the Honourable Minister to appear in person before the Committee on this matter because it appears some people are colluding with the companies to defraud the Federal Government of its legitimate revenues, thereby making the government unable to fulfill its Constitutional roles to the citizens.

“Parliament cannot continue to wait for him and for the Nation to witness more revenue loses, that’s why we are giving the Minister to course appearance before this Committee to speak on the claims of the companies,

“In addition, the Committee is reporting the Minister to his employer, President Muhammadu Buhari to be aware how some of his appointees are carrying out their assignments

“An official letter on the matter should be forwarded to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF)the Chief of Staff to the President, Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, for them to be aware.

Hon Oke however said that should the Minister still refused to course appearance, the Committee would have no option than to issue a warrant of bench arrest against him, to make him appear unfailingly to speak to the Parliament on the matter saying, “the Committee is not out to witch-hunt any individual or group but to perform its constitutional duties as lawmakers.”

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