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Reps probe alleged unremitted N1.8tr owed by multichoice

NASS
NASS

House of Representatives has resolved to probe the alleged unremitted N1.8 trillion and $342 million tax revenue owed to the federation by Multichoice Group.

The resolution of the House followed the adoption of an urgent motion moved at the plenary on Wednesday by Saidu Abdullahi.

The House also cautioned the potential buyers of Multichoice Nigeria, Multichoice Africa or any other Subsidiaries of the Multichoice Group operating in Nigeria to be aware of the alleged outstanding indebtedness which it said might have been covered in their papers.

Presenting the motion, Abdulahi said the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, was established in 2007 as one of the revenue collection agencies and is expected to collect revenue on behalf of the federation and remit the same to the government’s treasury.

The lawmaker said Multichoice, a prominent multinational corporation operating in Nigeria, has been accused of non-remittance of tax revenues due to the Federation, as evidenced by the suppression of information discovered from the submissions in their home country.

He expressed concern that there are ongoing arrangements to sell Multichoice Nigeria and other Multichoice Group Subsidiaries in Nigeria to a foreign Interest, while the tax indebtedness remains outstanding.

He expressed worry that if urgent actions are not taken to recover the tax revenues from the Multichoice Group, Nigeria might lose such huge revenue that could inject life into the economy.

Abdullahi said the Nigerian Economy is currently facing significant challenges, with dwindling revenue posing a threat to the overall fiscal stability and development of the country.

He noted that the FIRS had engaged a consultant in 2021 under a Whistleblowing contract to carry out an audit of the tax obligations of Multichoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa to ascertain the Company’s tax indebtedness to the country.

Abdulahi revealed that findings led to a back audit and investigation carried out by the FIRS from 2011 to 2020.

He stated: “Cognisant of the previous attempts by FIRS to recover the unpaid taxes through legal means; including court proceedings and the subsequent resolution to settle out of the court by both parties has not yielded the desired result; “Observed that the systems audit and investigation revealed enormous indebtedness to the tune of over N1.8 trillion in back total taxes for MultiChoice Nigeria, and $342 million in Value Added Tax, for MultiChoice Africa that had never paid any taxes since they started business operations in Nigeria. Both amounts were levied upon the Multichoice Group by the FIRS.”

Abdulahi acknowledged the responsibility of the House to uphold the principles of transparency, accountability and the rule of law in matters pertaining to public finance and taxation.

He stressed the need to urgently conduct a thorough investigation into the non-remittance of tax revenues by Multichoice to the federation, to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and take appropriate action to safeguard the interests of the Nigerian people.

The House resolved; “Caution the potential buyers of Multichoice Nigeria, Multichoice Africa or any other subsidiaries of the Multichoice Group operating in Nigeria to be aware of the alleged outstanding indebtedness which may have been covered in their papers.

“Mandate the Committee on Finance to initiate an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the non-remittance of tax revenues by Multichoice to the Federation with a particular focus on the suppression of information discovered from their submissions in their home country and report to the House within four weeks.”

Credit: Daily Post

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