Nigeria Freezing MultiChoice Accounts to Recover $4.4-Billion in Alleged Outstanding Taxes
The Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria (FIRS), has instructed banks in the country to freeze the accounts of South African-based media entertainment firm MultiChoice Africa and its subsidiary in Nigeria, for allegedly breaching agreements and denying access to their records for auditing.
MultiChoice Africa is a widely known entity in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing satellite television and other entertainment services across the continent. They are the proprietors of DStv, Showmax, and SuperSport amongst other services.
According to Reuters, the banks in question would have to recover $4.4-billion (1.8 trillion Naira) in alleged outstanding tax obligations from MultiChoice Africa and MultiChoice Nigeria.
“It was discovered that the companies persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with the Service, they would not promptly respond to correspondences, they lacked data integrity and are not transparent as they continually deny FIRS access to their records,” FIRS said.
Muhammed Nami, Executive Chair at FIRS was quoted by Pulse.ng, saying that “[MultiChoice Africa and Nigeria] would not promptly respond to correspondences, they lacked data integrity and are not transparent as they continually deny FIRS access to their records.”
“The companies are involved in the under-remittance of taxes which necessitated a critical review of the tax-compliance level of the company,” Nami said.
FIRS added that the MultiChoice groups’ performance did not reflect in their tax obligations and compliance level in the country.
Nami states that Nigeria contributed 34% of total revenue for the MultiChoice group. The next being Kenya with 11% and Zambia at 10%, with the rest of African countries where MultiChoice has a presence contributing 45% of the group’s total revenue.
FIRS has instructed “affected banks” in the country to “sweep balances in each of the above-mentioned entities’ accounts and pay the same in full or part settlement of the companies’ respective tax debts until full recovery.”
Nami says that the collection should occur before the execution of any transaction involving the companies or any of their subsidiaries. FIRS has also requested to be informed before any transactions are executed from any accounts, especially “transfers of funds to any of their subsidiaries.”
Reuters says that MultiChoice Group in South Africa would issue a statement about the matter soon.