MULTICHOICE Nigeria has responded to allegations of tax fraud levelled against the company by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), saying that it has complied with Nigerian tax laws and will prove its claim.
The company also said it would continue its operations in Africa’s most populous nation.
The company said this in a statement after the FIRS had claimed that the DSTV owner evaded tax and had an outstanding of N1.8 trillion in unpaid taxes.
“We have not received formal notification of this matter, however, shareholders are advised that the Group is aware of reports in the media regarding an ongoing tax matter with the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service.
“The matter is apparently based on unfounded allegations that MultiChoice Nigeria has not fully disclosed all existing subscribers to authorities,” the statement read.
The FIRS said it had engaged commercial banks to freeze and recover the amount from the bank accounts of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited and MultiChoice Africa.
MultiChoice said that it had ‘engaged openly with FIRS’ in a transparent and constructive manner. The company believed the dispute would be amicably resolved.
“Our operations are continuing in Nigeria,” the company revealed.
However, the latest tax fine of $4.4 billion imposed by the FIRS on Multichoice is higher than the $1.7 billion the company said it had contributed to the Nigerian economy.
The company’s share price fell on Thursday by as much as 7.4 per cent on the South African Stock Exchange in Johannesburg, which was the lowest since March 2020, with the volume traded exceeding three times the daily average in the past three months.
MultiChoice streams satellite TV to between 1.5 million and 2 million Nigerian subscribers and has invested heavily in the local Nollywood film industry, producing content in the local Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa languages.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.