Senate summons Malami, Dambazau over e-passport deals

Senate ad hoc committee on Saturday summoned the Attorney- General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Interior, Retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau and others to appear before it on April 6.

The Senate Ad Hoc Committee on alleged misuse, under remittance, and other fraudulent activities in collection, remittance and expenditure of internally generated revenue by MDAs invited the duo for briefing over their involvement in alleged e-passport deals.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola, who made this known in a statement through his Media Adviser, Chief Kayode Odunaro, said “the AGF, Mr Ahmed Idris, and four private companies were invited to appear before it to brief the committee on the multi-billion-naira e-passport production.”

Adeola said they were to also explain to the committee their involvement in other immigration-related issues carried out by the companies on behalf of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

According to him, the companies are Contec Nigeria Ltd, Greater Washington Nigeria Ltd, Newwork Solution and Investment Ltd, and Iris Smart Technologies.

The companies were said to be working on e-passport production, Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card and other immigration- related issues.

The committee chairman added that they allegedly had contractual agreements to perform some revenue generating service on behalf of NIS, while withholding certain percentage of revenue accrued to Federal Government.

He explained that the committee had invited various public officials and corporate organisations following presentation made by Comptroller General of NIS, Mohammed Babandede, on the revenue profile of the service.

The chairman further said that stakeholders were invited to brief the committee on modalities for distributing revenues running into billions of Naira among the companies, NIS and Federal Government.

He noted that “I am at a loss as to why huge part of revenue generated by NIS that should actually be based on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) was being paid to private firms in the name of PPP.

“We cannot be denying the Nigerian people of benefits that should accrue to them through increased revenue to government coffers, while allowing huge earnings for private concerns. “This is an area that government can generate huge revenue. There is need to get clarifications on this issue from all the parties involved,’’ Adeola said.

Earlier in his presentation, Babandede disclosed that the reasons for entering into a PPP arrangement was due to inadequate funding and late release of budgeted sums. He said other reasons for the partnership were multiple acquisition of travel documents and poor revenue generation.

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