Senate panel queries banks on alleged manipulation of N30tr forex

  • Senate panel queries banks on alleged manipulation of N30tr forexReps summon Fashola over car dealers, task force crisis in Lagos

The Senate Committee on Customs and Excise have asked all commercial banks which purchased N30 trillion worth of Foreign Exchange (Forex) on behalf of importers to show evidence of its utilisation.

At a meeting with officials of the Finance Ministry, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks at the National Assembly yesterday, Chairman of the committee, Hope Uzodinma, said the investigation covered the period of 11 years beginning from 2006 to 2017.

The commercial banks, according to Uzodinma, have been asked to respond to the committee’s questions in writing within three weeks.

He said: “There is no bank that is exempted. All the banks are involved. Both the banks that are dead and the ones living. The ones that are no more operating were acquired by some banks. So, the activities of those that are no longer in operation we have been able to tie them to those that acquired them as part of the liabilities. Of course, we will expect that most of the banks that acquired these banks must have carried out due diligence on them.”

In another development, the House of Representatives yesterday summoned Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, over impending crisis between car dealers and task force agents of the Ministry of Works.

According to the lawmakers, the minister is to appear before the House Committee on Judiciary, alongside Permanent Secretary in the ministry to enlighten the House on the circumstances surrounding the disagreement.

They said the officials would also review a legal suit on the matter with the committee members.

It would be recalled that car dealers at Sunrise/Berger and task force agents of the ministry have for sometimes been locked in intense disagreement over location of car businesses in Lagos.

Piqued by the development, Rita Orji, in a motion, called for a cessation of any action aimed at evicting and relocating traders pending the determination of a suit in court.

She noted that the transport companies in the areas of dispute were occupying a portion of land legally allocated to them by the Federal Ministry of Works with their allocation papers intact, hence needless to harass them while on their legitimate businesses.

Oji, therefore, cautioned that if this form of harassment was not checked, those on lawful engagements, struggling to meet their daily needs and contributing to the enhancement of taxes in the state, might be frustrated out of business.

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