Senate summons FIRS, CBN, others over $5b tax evasion
By Titus Agbo, Abuja
The senate has summoned the Federal Inland Revenue Service,( FIRS), Central Bank of Nigeria,( CBN), National Petroleum Investment Management Services, (NAPIMS), Chevron Nigeria Limited and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC,) over alleged tax irregularities amounting to over $5billion.
Senator Magnus Abe led ad- hoc committee invited the organisations to appear before it to defend the allegation of tax fraud allegations levelled against them in a petition before the Senate.
Speaking during the sitting yesterday, Senator Abe said; “We are not going into the investigative hearing any pre-judgement, the truth must be uncovered. I can tell you that we will be fair thorough and quick in our assignment.” He stressed
Earlier in his remark, Senate President, Bukola Saraki urged the committee to be independent in its assignment and be fair to all parties concerned.
Dr. George Uboh of the Panic Alert Security System,( PASS), had petitioned the Senate over alleged $5 billion fraud at the Chevron.
Uboh had alleged in his petition that between 2001-2002, Chevron evaded tax to the tune of over $343 million through over bloating of its operational costs under Petroleum Profit Tax, using Carry Agreement with NNPC as a cover when such agreement never existed with the company.
Also yesterday, the Senate raised alarm that most university administrators cook up figures in the yearly accounts as a way of evading payment of operating surpluses running into hundreds of millions to government as revenue in line with the Constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Speaking, yesterday, during the committee’s investigative hearing of Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, Chairman of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Misuse, Non Remittance and Fraudulent Acts of Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR), by government agencies, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), said so far, all the 12 federal universities that have appeared before the committee presented fictitious documents with contradictory figures.
According to him, they engage in the act to justify why they did not remit a kobo to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government as required by extant laws.
Senator Adeola said: “It is regrettable that the financial management of our universities is in such a parlous state with many of them like the FUT, Minna presenting obviously fictitious documents and figures all in an attempt to exonerate themselves from non remittances of revenue generated while completely expending all revenues generated on sometimes, frivolous expenditure heads.
“I believe there is serious fraud going on in FUT, Minna which will be revealed as they cannot reconcile the figures in their financial presentation.”
The senator wondered the type of education that these universities will be giving to the students if the universities are run with the Vice Chancellor, not being able to recollect the number of students in his school, the number of bed spaces available and paid for by students as well as present development levy fees. Earlier the VC, while responding to a question by Senator Bayero Nafada, said he did not have the exact figure of students in the school as well as the number of bed spaces for which the sum of N12,000 was being collected per annum.
So far, 12 universities have appeared before the committee, while all of them pleaded to go back and prepare a better account of their finances in the last years.