The House of Representatives says it will investigate customs duties remitted by commercial banks to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since January.

Lawmakers reached the decision after a motion entitled, "Need to Investigate the Customs Duties Remitted by Commercial Banks to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from January 2014 till Date", was put forward by Jerry Alagbaoso and 11 others.

The aim of the motion, according to Alagbaoso, is to obtain proof that such remittances were made.

He alleged that banks delayed in making transfers to the government in spite of the implementation of e-payment procedures.

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Mr Alagbaoso said: "Nearly all the service providers of the Nigeria Customs Service handed over their Build Operate and Transfer  services to the personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service on December 1, 2013.

"There is a new regime of e-payment that all government revenues, such as customs duties, when paid, will be credited to the Central Bank of Nigeria almost instantly or within 24 hours.

"I am also aware that banks provide online, all the Forms M applied for by importers and so banks should not delay or hold on to government revenues, especially customs duties, in order to shore up their deposit base, liquidity or balance in their residual accounts or divert or invest them for some quick returns on investment," he explained.

The legislator alleged that some accounting officers in the banks appeared to lose sight of the status of approved Forms M and their utilisation.

"And in some cases, they do not bear in mind the allowable period of non-utilisation just to dump the Forms M, which adversely affects the payment of full duties.

"Also some accounting officers in the banks ignore the difference between the utilisation and application of the Form M," he said.

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The legislator added that such attitude by banks negate "the CBN's guidelines for FOREX issuance of Form M and its  utilisation within an allowable prosecution or litigation period which tends to affect customs duties negatively".

The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the Committee on Customs and Excise to carry out a probe and report back within eight weeks.

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