The Senate is set to probe the alleged N117 billion rice importation scam, as soon as it resumes from the holidays, reports say.
The policy was initiated by former president, Goodluck Jonathan to boost local rice production.
Guardian Newspapers reports that some companies who were not involved in rice production, received quotas from the government, and in turn, sold it to other contractors.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki had earlier instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to recover about N30b given as waivers to some companies for importing rice.
Saraki said: “On the issue of the waivers on taxes and duties especially on rice which is about N30billion that were granted to certain companies, this money must be paid back to the Federal Government.”
One of the companies mentioned in the alleged scam- Umza International Milling Plant, has since denied the allegation.
Speaking to newsmen, the chairman, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Maifata said:
“The truth and the fact of this matter is that Umza International Milling Plant has a current milling capacity of 72,000MT per annum and the company is currently in the process of further increasing the milling capacity to about 120,000 metric tons per annum.
“Our partnership with Rice Farmers Association in Kebbi State is another area where Umza Farms has proven its investments in rice value chain where we are currently working with farmers especially from Suru Local Council in the cultivation of paddy.
“Umza International Farms has also secured the approval from Niger State Government for 11,000 hectares of land in Agaie Local Council of the state for its backward integration programme.”
This is coming on the heels of the revelations on how a sum of $2.1billion, meant for the purchase of arms for Nigeria’s military, was laundered under the supervision of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and allegedly with Jonathan’s approval.