Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have accused major oil companies in Nigeria of tax evasion following preliminary findings by the ad hoc committee investigating the structure and accountability of the joint venture businesses and production-sharing contracts of the Nigerian Petroleum Company [NNPC].
The House of Representatives’ adhoc committee conducting the investigations, said some federal government financial agencies, including the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], and the Federal Inland Revenue Service [FIRS] are on the list of culprits.
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Hon. Abubakar Fulata, the committee’s chairman, who made the allegation last Monday, during a meeting with stakeholders at the National Assembly, stated that the committee would rely on sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution, and get the concerned firms to do the needful.
Mr. Fulata said that by denying the country the statutory tax payments, the firms, particularly the international oil companies (IOC) and their Nigerian allies, are engaging in revenue theft.
The lawmaker asserted that while some of the companies have cooperated, a number of them, including government agencies, have turned down several invitations extended to them by the lawmakers to submit their documents for scrutiny.
He hinted Chevron Nigeria Ltd, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Nigeria Ltd are among the organizations having the tax evasion issues, and currently under investigation.
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The committee chairman however said the committee has decided to give the affected organizations three weeks grace to appear with their documents or risk prosecution according to the law.
“The following organizations have not made any submission in spite of public notice and letter of invitation sent to them. They include the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], First Exploration Petroleum Development Company Ltd., Eroton Exploration and Production Company Ltd.,” he disclosed.
“Others are Ten Oil Petroleum and Energy Ltd, Statoil Nigeria Ltd, Belema Oil Producing Ltd, Emo Exploration and Production Ltd, and Sterling Oil Exploration and Production.”