By Solomon Ayado, Abuja
The Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff has given Zenith Bank a clean bill of health over the N30 trillion banks’ remittance infractions involving the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS).
The committee probing the NCS on the matter has also given the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) seven days to recover all monies collected by banks on behalf of the agency.
Among banks directed to make refund are Access Bank, N42bn; Diamond Bank, N75bn; GTB, N290bn; FCMB, N14bn; Stanbic IBTC, N13bn and First Bank, N27bn.
The committee chairman, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, noted that following its investigations, the committee found that only Zenith Bank had complied with 100 per cent remittance.
The committee, which recently completed a successful work on the review of Customs Act, gave the matching order to the apex bank at an investigative meeting with the CBN, Ministry of Finance, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), commercial banks and other stakeholders.
Senator Uzodinma threatened that the Senate will involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should the CBN fail to recover the money within the given time.
The committee had established during the hearing that, of the over N30 trillion being investigated by the committee, over N536 billion was terminated at the various banks but not remitted to CBN.
The Senator representing Orlu Zone of Imo State said, “There are various infractions regarding import and export duties and we have carried out detailed investigation into the matter. Today, we will address the non-remittance of revenue collected on behalf of Customs.
“The only bank that is free of this infraction is Zenith Bank. We must recover what we are able to and moving forward, we must stop this infraction that is affecting our economy negatively”.
The committee, however, gave the banks two weeks to clarify the observed infractions relating to utilised and unutilised ‘Form M’ and Simple Goods Declaration (SGD) a well as others, including abandoned assessment of Customs Duties and foreign exchange allocation manipulation.