EXCLUSIVE: ANLCA Blacklists First Bank Plc, Directs Importers to Stop Opening Form ‘M’
…As CBN Deletes Bank from System Over Alleged N100billion Unremitted Export Proceeds
… Clearing Agents to Drag First Bank Before EFCC
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications has emerged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the orders of the House of Representatives Committee on Customs, has delisted First Bank Plc from collection of import duty revenue due to its alleged failure to remit N100billion collected on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria on export proceeds for Nigerian Exports Promotion Council (NEPC)
This indication was given by the Acting National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr Kayode Farinto innan exclusive chat with DAILY TREND on Thursday.
Farinto raised an alarm that currently, clearing agents have been unable to clear cargoes from the port because customs would not accept duty payment on PAAR or Form ‘M’ opened under First Bank.
The ANLCA President subsequently directed all importers and clearing agents to backlist First Bank Plc for now and stop opening Form ‘M’ with the bank until further notice.
Dr Farinto has however threatened to drag First Bank before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged financial fraud.
Speaking, he said “First Bank collected over N100billion on behalf of Federal Government of Nigeria on the issue of National Export Promotion Council, but the money was not remitted, the House Committee on Customs discovered this anomaly. Unfortunately, they only wrote a letter to CBN to yank First Bank off the system.
“What they ought to have done is to let stakeholders know what was happening, so that anyone having a backlog of jobs can clear them and stop their form M
“This was the same thing that happened to GT Bank last year, but this time around, we are taking this matter before the EFCC.
“The clearing agents are currently stuck, they cannot clear their consignment, demurrage is accruing on cargoes at port. If you make your declaration, if it is first bank PAAR or Form ‘M’, the job cannot proceed until the bank is reconnected back by CBN.
“So, for now, we are directing importers and their agents not to open Form’M’ with first bank for now. We are on top of the situation appealing to the government to give us a little time to clear the backlog.
“Meanwhile, First Bank should be ready for us this time around, we are dragging them before EFCC or ICPC, let it be established that a financial crime has been committed, so that going forward, we would not be having recurrence of such issue
“Don’t forget that last year, GTB Bank did the same thing and went scot-free, nothing happened, no sanctions, is that a healthy situation? In a country where we claim to be fighting corruption.
“I share everybody’s pain, but they must not make any transactions in regards to import duty payment for now so that they would not be stucked” he concluded