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LEGALPOLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Senate Probes Customs, FIRS Over N567 Billion Alleged Illegal Spending

The Senate has kicked off an inquest into an alleged unauthorized spending of N567 billion being the cost of taxes collected by the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, from January 2005 to July 2015.

The Upper Chamber’s action is an offshoot of a petition from a non governmental organization, Legislative Watch, to Senate President Bukola Saraki on August 13.

The Senate President consequently referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

A document from the Federal Ministry of Finance presented to the Committee by the petitioner indicated that the average monthly collection ‎cost of the NCS was N2.5 billion raising the total amount not remitted by NCS for 126 months (January 2005 to July 2015) to N315 billion

Similarly, the document showed that the average monthly cost of collection of the FIRS was put at N2 billion which puts the total amount not remitted by FIRS over the same period at N252 billion making a total of N567bn.

Defending the petition before the committee, Executive Secretary of Legislative Watch, Ngozi Ihuoma, alleged that the amount represented the seven percent cost of tax collection paid to the NCS and the four percent also paid to the FIRS during the period.

The group alleged that the two agencies deducted the money from the amount collected on behalf of the Federal Government without appropriation by the National Assembly contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

Committee Chairman Senator Samuel Anyanwu, is yet to fix a specific date to invite the two agencies to defend the allegations against them.

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