Alleged Tax Evasion: Reps’ Panel Probes Shell Petroleum

Paschal Emeka, Abuja

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 has opened an investigation on Shell Petroleum Limited over the alleged tax evasion.

The House mandated the Committee to investigate the alleged tax evasion by some oil companies for the past 22 years.

The representatives of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Total Energies, and First E & P appeared before the House panel on Wednesday.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata earlier said that the Committee could only attend to the Chief Executive Officers of Oil Companies, but waived that stance since the invitees presented letters of authorization to the panel. At the same time, he added that the CEOs would appear at a later date.

Panelists expressed anger after discovering that their operations regarding the payment of taxes were not in line with Federal Inland Revenue Service Stock.

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

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

The leader of the Shell delegation, Bashir Bello said SPDC has been in operation since 1929 and promised the probe panel to furnish them with the relevant documents being requested with exception of the CAFA certificate.

The panel affirmed that Shell, Total, and First E & P violate Nigeria Law for making capital allowances claims without the CAFA Certificate.

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.

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

The panel demanded that the oil companies furnish the committee with a stock certificate, and capital allowance enjoyed contributions to NNPC– JV & PSCs Account.

The committee said in the event FIRS and other organizations failed to honor their invitation, they would have no option but to direct the Inspector General of Police to compel them to appear.

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