Reps to Probe MultiChoice’s N1.8 trillion, $342 million Debt

Reps to Probe MultiChoice’s N1.8 trillion, $342 million Debt

The House of Representatives have resolved to the probe failure of MultiChoice Nigeria to remit about N1.8 trillion and $342 million in tax revenue to the Nigerian government.

The green chamber made the resolution to investigate the shortcoming in tax revenue on Wednesday.

The House warned Multichoice Africa who are the potential buyers of Multichoice Nigeria, or any other subsidiaries of the Multichoice Group operating in Nigeria to be aware of the alleged outstanding indebtedness to the Nigerian government which may have been covered in their papers.

The resolution followed a motion on notice sponsored by the deputy chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Saidu Abdullahi (APC, Niger).

The investigation is to focus on the possible suppression of information discovered from the submissions of MultiChoice in their home country.

The lawmaker informed the House that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was established in 2007 as one of the revenue collection agencies and is expected to collect revenues on behalf of the Federation and remit the same to the government’s treasury.

According to him, the oversight functions of the National Assembly as provided in Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) are to enable the Legislature to investigate within its legislative competence to prevent and expose corruption, inefficiency, or waste in the execution or administration of laws.

He alleged that 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 said further that Nigeria’s economy is currently facing significant challenges, with dwindling revenues posing a threat to the overall fiscal stability and development of the Country.

He disclosed that in 2021, the Federal Inland Revenue Service engaged a consultant 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.

He said the consultants’ findings led to a back audit and investigation carried out by the FIRS from 2011 to 2020.

He also disclosed that 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.

He stressed 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 which had never paid any taxes since they started business operations in Nigeria.

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

He maintained that if urgent actions are not taken to recover the tax revenues from the Multichoice Group, Nigeria may lose huge revenue that can inject life into the economy.

He stressed the responsibility of the House to uphold the principles of transparency, accountability, and the rule of law in matters of public finance and taxation.

He said there is a need to thoroughly investigate 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 Nigerians.