Reps to investigate alleged ₦1.8trn tax owed to Federal Govt by Multichoice

Multichoice was accused of non-remittance of tax revenues due to the Federation.

The House of Representatives is set to probe the alleged ₦1.8 trillion tax owed to the Federal Government by Multichoice Group, the operator of DSTV and GoTV.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Saidu Abdullahi (APC-Niger) at a plenary in Abuja on Wednesday. Moving the motion, he said that Multichoice, a prominent multinational corporation operating in Nigeria, had been accused of non-remittance of tax revenues due to the Federation.

This, he said was evidenced by the suppression of information discovered from the submissions in their home country. According to him, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had engaged a consultant in 2021 under a Whistleblowing contract to carry out an audit of the tax obligations of Multichoice Nigeria.

This, includes MultiChoice Africa to ascertain the company’s tax indebtedness to the country. He added that their findings led to a back audit and investigation carried out by the FIRS from 2011 to 2020.

Abdullahi said the previous attempt by FIRS to recover unpaid taxes through legal means; including court proceedings and resolution to settle out of court by both parties did not yield results.

“The systems audit and investigation revealed enormous indebtedness to the tune of over ₦1.8 trillion in back total taxes for MultiChoice Nigeria.

“This also includes a $342 million in Value-added tax, for MultiChoice Africa which had never paid any taxes since they started business operations in Nigeria.”

He said both amounts were levied upon the Multichoice Group by the FIRS. He said that there were ongoing arrangements to sell Multichoice Nigeria and other Multichoice Group Subsidiaries in Nigeria to a foreign Interest, while the tax indebtedness remained outstanding.

He said if urgent actions were not taken to recover the tax revenues from the Multichoice Group, Nigeria could lose such huge revenue that could inject life into the economy. Adopting the motion, the House cautioned 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.

This, the House said might have been covered in their papers, while mandating the Committee on Finance to initiate an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the non-remittance of tax revenues by Multichoice to the Federation.

This, according to the House should be particularly focused on the suppression of information discovered from their submissions in their home country and report back to the House within four weeks.

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