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NAPIMS boss gets 24 hours to appear before Senate over $16b project

Nigerian Senate.

•Lawmakers probe Customs, others over alleged abuse of waivers

The Senate Committee on Local Content has ordered the Group General Manager of National Petroleum Investment and Management Service (NAPIMS), Mr. Roland Ewubare, to appear before it within 24 hours or risk being forced to do so.

Chairman of the panel Samuel Adeola gave the order at its sitting attended by 10 senators investigating the variations associated with the $16 billion Egina Deep Sea Oil Project. He said it was becoming a tradition in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries to treat National Assembly invitations with levity. “This committee will henceforth not deal with lieutenants of these agencies without their heads or cogent reasons in advance.”

NAPIMS had sent three general managers as representatives to the committee after it received an invitation three weeks ago for appearance of the group general manager to throw light on submissions made by Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd handling the Egina project.

Godswill Akpabio, the vice chairman of the committee and Minority Leader said the importance attached to the information likely to be provided led members to turn out in large numbers. According to him, it is insulting not only to the Nigerian constitution but the office of the GGM for him to disregard the Senate invitation on issues relating to how Nigerians are being shortchanged by foreign companies and their local collaborators.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Customs has invited the Comptroller General, Hammed Ali, Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged abuse of waivers and bond on import duties.

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Also invited are bank executives, importers, inspection agents, SGS, Cotecna, Global Scan and Web Fountain Nig Ltd. to defend the roles they played in the sector from 2010 till date with regard to the waivers. They are to appear before the committee next week Wednesday.

In a letter to the invited stakeholders dated 13 November, the committee chairman, Abiodun Faleke (APC, Lagos)
Said:” In view of the timeline set for the assignment, kindly ensure that the information and documents required of you are sent to the committee’s secretariat before November 29.”

The lawmakers requested for schedules of all beneficiaries with respect to all duty waivers, exemptions and concessions processed by the invited stakeholders from 2010 till date.

They also requested for “schedules of all beneficiaries with respect to all bonds indemnity upon which imports were processed by the Nigeria Customs Service from 2010 to date.”

The House had on November 8 collapsed three motions all calling for the probe of issuance of waivers and revenue leakages in the declaration of customs duties.

The motions are: “Need to investigate the handling of import duty revenues, waivers and bonds on import duties collected by the Customs Service from 2010 to date’, ‘Need to Audit the Customs Duties Remitted by commercial banks to the CBN from January 2014 till date and proof of such remittances’ and ‘Need to investigate the operational activities of Web Services, Fountain Nigeria Ltd in the Nigeria Customs Service Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure between 2013 and 2017, the violation of its Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) timeline agreement, rules of engagement and the delay in the handover of its services to the Nigeria Customs Service.”

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