Forex racketeering: Reps probe CBN, FIRS, others over $30bn leakages

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Inland Revenue Service over alleged racketeering in the allocation of foreign exchange to companies.

The House, which said the leakages are causing the Federal Government to lose revenue worth over $30bn, will also probe commercial banks, forex dealers, importers and beneficiary companies.

Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Mr James Faleke, had at the plenary on Thursday, moved a motion of urgent public importance, calling for a probe into the forex allocation process.

The motion was titled, ‘Urgent Need to Rescue the Country from Over $30bn Annual Revenue Leakages Arising from Various Malpractices in Foreign Exchange Allocation to Companies from Sources Such As CBN, Autonomous, Interbank, Domiciliary and Over-the-Counter Purchases for the Importation of Physical Goods, Payment of Foreign Service Vendors, Dividend Repatriation, Foreign Loan and Interest Payments, Including Foreign Currency Denominated Contracts’ Payments by Companies in Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Marine Transportation.’

While unanimously adopting the motion, the House direct the Committees of Finance; and Banking and Currency to “conduct public hearing by looking into the various originating documents maintained by the CBN, banks, forex dealers, FIRS, importers and other beneficiary companies.”

The committees are also to identify the “perpetrators and the atrocities committed based on verifiable documents obtained from the valuable records.

“Determine in a statutory and in a professional manner, the revenue amount involved in the malpractices by each organisation based on every revenue line item collectable by agency of government for the purpose of timely recovery into government accounts.

“Make a formal report of findings and provide necessary recommendations toward the correction and regularisation of the problems aimed at putting a stop to the menace in the future.

“Advise the House on the statutory provisions/amendment for penalties as provided in the applicable Law for various related offences as a deterrent to others.”

The panel is to the House within 12 weeks.

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