House of Representatives has threatened to arrest Chief Executive Officers of MTN, GLO, Airtel and 12 other telecommunication companies over refusal to honour invitation to an investigative hearing at the instance of its committee on finance.
Chairman of the Committee, James Faleke had in a motion on Thursday, observed that there are huge revenue leakages amounting to over $30 billion, attributable to corporations who systematically evade the remittance of the appropriate taxes, despite public declarations of huge revenues and profits.
He explained that the sole objective of these investigations by the House was to ensure that Nigeria’s tax regime remains fair and competitive, and expected tax revenue by any organization and or individual is paid appropriately and accordingly into the government Treasury.
“The Committee of Finance and Banking & Currency, in furtherance of its obligations as directed by the House, issued letters of invitation to various corporations to submit documents of their full compliance with the Law’s of the Federation.
“The House is amazed that some of these corporations, particularly Telecoms operators under the aegis of Incorporated Trustees of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, upon the receipt of the letters of invitation chose instead to file cases in the Court.
“The House notes that a judgment in favour of the National Assembly was delivered on the 13th of March 2020, by Her Lordship, B.F.M. Nyako J, which reiterated that ‘the National Assembly is empowered by sections 88 and 89 of the constitution to invite any persons for investigative purposes’, the lawmaker said.
Ruling on the motion, Femi Gbadabiamila, speaker, said the telecommunication companies are not above the law and must honour the parliament of the country, adding that the current assemble would do all it takes to protect the integrity of National assembly and telecoms operators must obey the parliament.
“We will not sit and accept the parliament handicapped. If MTN was to be summoned by the South African parliament it will hurriedly honour the invitation. The consequence of their action is arrest and fine. The National Assembly has such powers and we will impose if they refuse to appear,” he stated.