OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise has demanded the suspension of Ecobank from further collection of custom duties over alleged discrepancies.

The Committee Chairman, Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi), gave the directive at the resumed investigative hearing of the Committee on Wednesday. The committee is probing some banks for refusal to remit custom duties to federal government coffers.

The Committee resolved that Ecobank would be suspended until it was able to pay an outstanding of N4.3 billion customs duties the bank allegedly refused to remit to the federal government coffers.

Abejide, said that the Committee had been on the assignment for over a year, stressing that any bank that failed to show the amount collected for customs duties would be suspended.

He also pointed that some banks like Diamond, Access, Intercontinental, GTB, City Bank and WEMA Banks have submitted full data for their forensic review.

He stated that “for banks such as; First Bank, Union Bank, Stanbic IBTC, their review is still ongoing” but warned that “at the end of the investigation, all banks that refused to remit collection of Customs duties would be suspended from further collection pending the time their outstanding are cleared.”

In his reaction, Mr. Oche Adejoh, the Regional Compliant Manager, Ecobank disagreed with the House Committee, saying that “as at today, the bank had done all its remittances”.

He further disclosed that Ecobank currently had no remittances to make, adding that it was the reason the bank employed an independent entity, KPMG to do the relevant investigation.

Other banks that appeared at the investigative hearing include: Keystone bank, Standard Chartered bank, Fidelity bank, and Polaris bank, among others.

Meanwhile, the Committee commended Standard Chartered Bank for demonstrating commitment to pay its outstanding balance to the Federal Government coffers.

OrderPaper recalls that the probe of non-remittance of custom duties by banks is an exercise that the previous assembly also embarked upon without any known closure.

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