FIRS accuses Multichoice of N1.8 trillion tax fraud

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has engaged some commercial banks as agents to freeze and recover N1.8 trillion from accounts of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited and MultiChoice Africa, owners of popular satellite television, DSTV.

This was disclosed in a statement released by the Director, Communications and Liaison Department of FIRS, Abdullahi Ahmad.

Ahmad explained that the decision to appoint the banks as agents and to freeze the accounts was as a result of Multichoice’s continued refusal to grant FIRS access to their servers for audit.

Ahmed added that the FIRS has discovered that the companies persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with the Service, adding that Multichoice has never paid any Value Added Tax since its inception.

“The FIRS has appointed some commercial banks as agents to recover the sum of N1.8 trillion from accounts of Messrs MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCN) And MultiChoice Africa (MCA). This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami.

“The statement confirmed that the decision to appoint the banks as agents and to freeze the accounts was as a result of the group’s continued refusal to grant FIRS access to its servers for audit.

“It was discovered that the companies persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with the Service, they would not promptly respond to correspondences, they lack data integrity and are not transparent as they continually deny FIRS access to their records.

“Particularly, MCN has avoided giving the FIRS accurate information on the number of its subscribers and income,” the statement read.

“The companies are involved in the under-remittance of taxes which necessitated a critical review of the tax-compliance level of the company.

“According to the statement the group’s performance does not reflect in its tax obligations and compliance level in Nigeria.

“The level of non-compliance by Multi-Choice Africa (MCA), the parent Company of Multi-Choice Nigeria (MCN) is very alarming. The parent company, which provides services to MCN has never paid Value Added Tax (VAT) since its inception.”

The statement noted that based on the information currently at the disposal of the FIRS, the MultiChoice group and Messrs MultiChoice Nigeria Limited have a tax liability for relevant years of ₦1,822,923,909,313.94 and $342,531,206,” the statement added.

The FIRS noted that all the affected banks are required to sweep balances in each of the above-mentioned entities’ accounts and pay the same in full or part settlement of the companies’ respective tax debts until full recovery.

It further directed the banks to carry out the sweep balances before the execution of any transaction involving the companies or any of their subsidiaries, adding that the Service should be informed of any transactions before execution on the account, especially transfers of funds to any of their subsidiaries.




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