15 October 2014, Abuja – The House of Representatives is to commence a full-scale investigation into the alleged non-payment of levies of mergers and acquisitions by multinational companies in the petroleum sector.
The probe would be done by a joint Committee of Justice and Finance, which is expected to establish the extent of infractions regarding the statutory payments for mergers and acquisitions.
It would also determine the amount due to Nigeria with a view to recovering such amount, stressing in its preliminary report that some oil companies allegedly avoided paying fees they ought to pay to the country.
According to the Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Hon. Ali Ahmad (APC, Kwara), the full-scale investigation became necessary because: “We noticed an attempt by some powerful lobby to pre-empt the report of the committees.”
He said: “Because of this wrong development, we are compelled to set the records straight and give members of the public and stakeholders the true update on the investigative hearing.
“Our mandate is to determine whether these companies paid similar dues in their home countries and whether and why they paid or did not pay amounts due to Nigeria. We are also to determine whether there was complicity from any officials of the concerned regulatory agencies and the Ministry of Petroleum.
“These efforts will form the basis of our recommendation to the whole House. Our recommendations shall be confidential until submitted to the whole House and it is only then that the public may have access to it.
“We also use this opportunity to inform the public that since time is not our side, we have planned to organise, in a matter of days, a full public hearing on the matter, where all the stakeholders and members of the public shall be given the opportunity to participate,” he said.
The investigation is following the mandate given to the two committees by the House on September 17, 2013 ,to probe the matter after the country reportedly lost about $10 billion from mergers and acquisitions by oil companies.
– This Day