Reps accuse Multichoice of alleged tax indebtedness of $342M 

Elizabeth AtimeFebruary 29, 20243 min

The House mandated an urgent investigation into the non-remittance of tax revenues of about N1.8 trillion by Multichoice with a focus on the suppression of information discovered from their submissions in their home country.

The House of Representatives has 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 of $342 million tax revenue owed to the Federal Government of Nigeria which may have been covered in their papers.

The House further mandated the Committee on Finance to initiate an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the non-remittance of tax revenues of about N1.8 trillion by Multichoice to the federation with a focus on the suppression of information discovered from their submissions in their home country.

These resolutions were sequel to a motion of urgent national importance brought by Rep. Sa’idu Musa Abdullahi (APC, Niger) entitled “ Urgent need to investigate the alleged unremitted N1.8 trillion and $342 million tax revenue owed the Federation by the Multichoice group.”

In his debate, Abdullahi noted 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 revealed that “the Federal Inland Revenue Service 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. Their findings led to a back audit and investigation carried out by the FIRS from 2011 to 2020”

The lawmaker also pointed out that Multichoice had earlier opted for an out-of-court settlement with FIRS promising to pay the outstanding debt owed the federal government but reneged on the agreement.

“Also 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.

“Concerned that there are ongoing arrangements to sell Multichoice Nigeria and other Multichoice Group Subsidiaries in Nigeria to a foreign Interest, while this tax indebtedness remains outstanding.

Worried that 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 motion was unanimously adopted and the House mandated the relevant House Committee to do due diligence on the matter and report back in four weeks.

Elizabeth Atime

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