Alleged tax evasion: Reps grill Shell Petroleum, others

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The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the Structure and Accountability of the joint Venture (JV) Business and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Limited on Wednesday grilled Shell Petroleum Limited over the alleged tax evasion.

The representatives of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria, Total Energies and First E & P appeared on before the Committee which has been empowered to probe the alleged tax evasion by some oil companies for the past 22 years.

The Chairman of the Committee, Abubakar Hassan Fulata, who initially said that the lawmakers could only attend to the Chief Executive Officers of Oil Companies, but later waived that aside since the invitees presented letters of authorisation, added that the CEOs would appear at a later date.

Members of the committee expressed outrage after discovering that the operations regarding the payment of taxes were not in line with Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRSC) Stock.

According to Fulata, “FIRS does not rely on Stock Certificate of Crude Oil, as well as Certificate of Acceptance of fixed Assets (CAFA).”

“The Stock Certificates gives clearer pictures of the oil being lifted while the CAFA certificate is the basis for capital allowances claims.”

In response, the leader of the Shell delegation, Bashir Bello, who revealed that the company has been in operation since 1929, promised to provide the committee with the relevant documents being requested in exception of the CAFA.

The committee confirmed that Shell, Total and First E & P are violating Nigeria Law by making capital allowances claims without the CAFA.

In their separate submissions, the companies revealed that they have been relying on Petroleum Tax Act to make capital allowance claims, and not the controversial CAFA that is domiciled with the Ministry of Industry.

In reaction, the Committee noted that activities of Oil Companies were not only guided by Petroleum Act, but other laws which they were bound to obey.

The lawmakers, therefore, demanded that the oil companies must, among other things, furnish the committee with stock certificate, capital allowance enjoyed, contributions to NNPC- JV & PSCs Account.

They warned that if the FIRS and other organisations fail to honour their invitation, they will be left with no other option than to direct Inspector General of Police to compel them.

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