Reps set to probe CBN, FIRS, others over alleged fraudulent forex dealings

The House of Representatives has decided to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over their handling of the foreign exchange (Forex). The CBN and FIRS are being accused of alleged dishonest and fraudulent business dealings with companies.

The legislators said that the alleged racketeering is causing leakage of about $30 billion and affecting the revenue of the Federal Government.

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According to the report by Punch, the CBN and the FIRS are not the only institutions being investigated. The House of Representatives is also probing some commercial banks, forex dealers, importers, and beneficiary companies.

The lawmakers suspect fraudulent activities in the allocation process of forex to companies, this made the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, to move a motion of urgent public importance. The committee intends to identify the individuals involved in the atrocities through some verifiable documents obtained from valuable records.

It was disclosed that after adopting the motion, the committees of Finance; and Banking and Currency will “conduct a public hearing by looking into the various originating documents maintained by the CBN, banks, forex dealers, FIRS, importers, and other beneficiary companies.”

The lawmakers have been probing institutions and companies relating to revenue. Nairametrics had reported in December that the House of Representatives had mandated its committee on Information and Communication Technology to investigate payment and remittance of tax accruable to the National Information Technology Development Agency by GSM service providers and all telecommunication companies as well as cyber companies and internet providers since 2008 till date.

Reps member, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta had stated that “The House is alarmed that the reports suggest that from the end of the 2008 financial year, when the NITD tax became operational, till date, the taxable companies such as Glo and Airtel have only paid tax for four years while 9mobile has not paid at all”

Why it matters: The lawmakers are bent on taking them up as they believe these companies make huge amount of annual profits that run into billions of naira and may, with the aid of the FIRS officials, be resorting to sharp practices that will enable them to declare loss or less profit, thereby avoiding payment of NITD tax or making underpayment.

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