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Reps to probe ‘non-remittance’ of N1.8tr tax by Multichoice

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Finance to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the non-remittance of tax revenues amounting to N1.8…

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Finance to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the non-remittance of tax revenues amounting to N1.8 trillion ($342 million) to the federal government by Multichoice.

This followed the adoption of a motion moved by Sa’idu Abdullahi at the plenary on Wednesday.

Presenting the motion, he said the investigation was necessitated due to suppression of information discovered from the submissions in the company’s home country, South Africa.

He said, Multichoice, a prominent multinational corporation operating in Nigeria, has been accused of non-remittance of tax revenues due to the federal government, as evidenced by the suppression of information.

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Abdullahi said that the Nigerian economy was facing significant challenges, with dwindling revenue posing a threat to the overall fiscal stability and development of the country.

He added, “The Federal Inland Revenue Service had engaged a consultant in 2021 under a whistle blowing contract to carry out an audit of the tax obligations of Multichoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa with a view to ascertaining the company’s tax indebtedness to the country. Their findings led to a back audit and investigation carried out by the FIRS from 2011 to 2020.

“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, have not yielded the desired result.

“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”.

He further stated that, there were arrangements to sell Multichoice Nigeria and other Multichoice Group subsidiaries in Nigeria to a foreign Interest, while the tax indebtedness remained outstanding.

He added, “If urgent actions are not taken to recover these tax revenues from the Multichoice Group, Nigeria may lose such huge revenue that can inject life into the economy.”

The House adopted the motion and cautioned potential buyers of Multichoice Nigeria, Multichoice Africa or 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.

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