The motion sponsor said if judgment debts are recovered the funds will help Nigeria address liquidity and revenue.
The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Justice and Finance to investigate the Failure of Judgment Debtors and Debtors from regulatory audits to pay the federal government Judgment Sums, Audit Assessments, Tax and Pension Debts.
The directive follows the adoption of a motion calling for an “Investigation into the Allegation of Failure of Judgement Debtors and Debtors from Regulatory Audits” sponsored by Rep. Philip Agbese (APC, Benue) at Wednesday’s plenary.
Agbese in his debate, noted that the federal government of Nigeria faces numerous cases and litigations worldwide, primarily based on monetary claims against counterparties and vice versa.
He also noted that the federal government had frequently suffered losses and paid substantial sums in local and foreign currencies to judgment creditors both within and outside Nigeria
According to him, the federal government’s inability to meet judgment debts has negatively impacted the country’s reputation and investment attractiveness, as sensationalized media coverage often sensationalizes these issues.
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“The judgment debtors often owe the federal government more money, which is often kept under wraps, never enforced, and not reported in the news, allowing debtors to continue their normal business.
The lawmaker further noted that regulatory audits have determined significant amounts based on assessments and letters of intent, but no further steps have been taken by regulatory bodies, resulting in unpaid sums and audits unclosed.
“The issue stems from inadequate supervision, lack of tracking, neglect by stakeholders within the Civil and Public service, collusion, and corruption, particularly in the tax, pension, and contractual sectors.”
He worried that the alleged situation could lead to unaccounted assets in the federal government, compromising financial stability and hindering the government’s ability to address pressing needs if not checked.
Agbese equally explained that the recovered sums will aid the country in addressing liquidity and revenue challenges as interest and penalties on debt have grown significantly, becoming huge assets for the federal government.
The joint committees are expected to report back to the House in six weeks.