Reps to probe alleged non-payment of mergers and aquisition by multi-national companies

House of Representatives reps logoBy Umar Muhammad Puma

The joint House of Representatives committees on justice and finance is to investigation the alleged non-payment of mergers and acquisitions by multi-national companies in the petroleum sector.

The committees are expected to find out the extent if any of non-compliance with the statutory payments for mergers and acquisitions and determine the amount due to Nigeria with a view to recovering such amount.

In a statement issued by the chairman of justice committee Rep Ali Ahmad (APC Kwara), said the full-scale investigation became necessary as the two committees have been working on the mandate and have reached advanced stage.

This is coming following the mandate given to the two committees by the House on September 17, 2013 to probe the matter after the country reportedly lost about $10 billion from mergers and acquisitions by oil companies.

Preliminary report of the two committees revealed how some oil companies allegedly manoeuvred their way and avoided paying fees they ought to pay to the country.

He said most of the agencies have been very helpful in providing useful records and information but added that “we noticed an attempt by some powerful lobby to pre-empt the report of the committees.”

Rep Ahmad said “because of this wrong development, we are compelled to set the records straight and give members of the public and stakeholders the true update on the investigative hearing.

“Our mandate is to determine whether these companies paid similar dues in their home countries and whether and why they paid or did not pay amounts due to Nigeria. We are also to determine whether there was complicity from any officials of the concerned regulatory agencies and the Ministry of Petroleum.

“These efforts will form the basis of our recommendation to the whole House. Our recommendation shall be confidential until submitted to the whole House and it is only then that the public may have access to it.

“We also use this opportunity to inform the general public that since time is not our side, we have planned to organise, in a matter of days, a full public hearing on the matter, where all the stakeholders and members of the public shall be given the opportunity to participate,” he said.

Mergers acquisitions in Nigeria started in 1998 when some oil companies acquired and merged with others for the purpose of efficiency, although the affected companies denied knowledge of such.

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