The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts, on Monday, condemned the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, for shunning its invitation to answer queries over the issuance of capital allowances by his ministry to the tune of N33bn.
At its investigative hearing in Abuja, the committee frowned on the non-appearance of Adebayo and heads of other relevant agencies such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority.
The committee had last Thursday summoned Adebayo, saying it would report the minister to President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to answer its summons.
The committee had invited Adebayo to its investigative hearing to explain the alleged revenue loss by the Federal Government to the tune of over N32bn through the Export Free Trade Zones.
The Chairman of the committee, Oluwole Oke, issued the threat over the absence of the minister, who was expected to answer a query issued by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation regarding the alleged issuance of fake Certificates of Capital Compliance for tax waivers by the ministry to some companies.
The multinational companies in the free trade zones were said to have been parading fake Capital Compliance Certificates over the years, which had denied the Federal Inland Revenue Services collection of the due revenue.
Oke said on Monday, “We have invited all the regulators. The Federal Ministry of Industry; Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Onne; Standards Organisation of Nigerian and they are supposed to appear today. But they are not here. All the companies listed by the regulators, some of them are here, but the regulators are not here.
“From the evidence presented by the companies, we discovered that a company’s capital allowances rose from N4bn to N33bn within a year, and they brought the certificate here for us to see. We called the Ministry of Industry to come and confirm whether they issued the certificate or not.
“If you issued a certificate for a foreign asset – an asset acquired outside the country, at least there will be import duty and there will be receipt.”
“Oil and Gas Free Zone collected money in dollars from licensees and refused to issue receipts to them. All the licensees that have appeared before this panel said they were issued receipts.”