Senate vows to expose importers, banks involved in N30trn forex fraud

Senator Hope Uzodinma said documents containing names of importers allegedly involved in the act have been given to the commercial banks to study.

The alleged fraud is said to have been perpetrated between 2006 and 2017.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Hope Uzodinma, disclosed this on Thursday, April 13, which was the second day of meeting with representatives of all commercial banks, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and ministry of finance.

He said documents containing names of importers allegedly involved in the act have been given to the commercial banks to study.

Uzodinma said further investigations on each of the importers commence once the committee gets reactions from the banks.

He said: "The senate is worried with the state of our economy and we have decided to investigate the dwindling value of our Naira as well as the state of forex that is affecting the economy negatively.

"We will publish the names of importer and banks involved in this fraudulent act.

"The purpose of giving the banks these documents is for them to go and identify the importers that were their customers and work out ways of returning the un-utilised portion of the foreign exchange allocated to them.

"We have the names of the importers, how much was given to them and other details, which are contained in the documents handed over to the banks."

The senator lamented that Forex is released to fictitious importers while genuine importers are denied access, causing economic hardship in the country.

"We profiled utilisation of Forex within the period and went further to establish that letters of credit for doing business were linked to companies abroad.

"We did not stop there, we also went to customs and there was no evidence of import duty payment, payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) and other requirements," he said.

Uzodinma said the banks have until May 3 to appear before the committee, which is after the might have studied and made submissions on the documents given to them. He said the three weeks ultimatum was given to the bank so that they can have enough time to adequately study the documents and not come up with excuses.

The lawmaker also said that all the managing directors of all the commercial banks must attend the meeting, adding that the committee would not accept representation.

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