Reps Set To Probe Shell, EFCC Over Tax Evasion, Bribery Allegations

The House of Representatives committee on Public Petition is set to commence investigation into alleged tax evasion by Shell Development company and a bribery allegation against the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, relating to the oil firm’s multi – billion gas project in Bayelsa State.

Sources in the anti-graft commission have, however, questioned the motive behind the probe, pointing out that the petitioner is, indeed, a suspect being persecuted for defrauding Shell and also because there had been no sitting on the matter by the House.

The gas project being probed by the House which is located in Bayelsa State reportedly violates the Statutory Development Permit, as mandated under the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act CAP 138, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; the Petroleum Act of 1969 (CAP 350) First schedule section 2 (3); paragraph 35 and Petroleum Drilling and Production, Regulations L.N 69 of 1969; Regulation 18.

The investigation follows the receipt of a 280-page petition written by a former Interface Manager of Shell, Chidi Adebanya, and the House committee chaired by Peter Edeh has said that it would conduct a probe into the allegation.

Adebanya alleged that officials of the EFCC demanded N120 million as bribe from him to crush the case against him at the Federal High Court, Abuja

In the petition dated May 21, he also alleged that Shell failed to pay taxes amounting to N7 billion to Bayelsa State government as building permit fees on the Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas project in Gbarantoro local government area of the state.

According to the petition received by the House committee on Public Petitions, the gas project is the biggest Shell project in sub-Saharan Africa costing $4.2 billion and occupying a land area of 2 million sq.m and produces one billion standard cubic feet of gas and 100,000 barrels of oil per day, making about $30 million daily in revenue.






     

     

    In order to uphold transparency, equity and justice, Edeh, urged the House to probe Chile Okoroma of the legal department of the EFCC and the agency’s director of operation, Olu Adegbite who were allegedly involved in the bribery allegation.

    Attempts to get the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, to comment on the matter proved abortive as his mobile phone was switched off. But www.icirnigeria.org investigations show that Adebanya might not be a credible person as he is currently facing trial for conniving with officials of the Bayelsa State ministry of Urban Development to defraud Shell of about N1.9 billion.

    Adebanya allegedly cashed in on his position as the interface between the oil giant and the community to award himself a consultancy contract using his company named Forstech. He and the some Bayelsa State officials are accused of defrauding Shell a total of N1.9billion being consultancy charges for the Gbaran Ubie gas project worth 2.2billion!

     

    The phony deal blew open, costing his job and consequent prosecution by the EFCC. The matter is being heard by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

     

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