The House of Representatives has descended heavily on Indorama Group over alleged sharp practices relating to evasion of tax running into billions of naira.
The House further accused the conglomerate of using several other companies beside the three it claimed to have officially registered in Nigeria in order to secure waivers from the federal government since 2006 to date.
The following resolutions were reached on Friday when Indorama, National Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts (PAC).
Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Oluwole Oke (PDP Osun) had asked that the representative of the Indorama Group take an oath to affirm that they had only three registered companies operational in Nigeria.
The vice chairman of the company, Mr. Amil Leuma took the oath on behalf of the group to affirm that they had only three registered companies in the country namely: Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizers and Indorama Oil Industrial Services.
But in a swift reaction, Mr. Oke interjected, saying “you are lying on oath. You have more than three companies operating in Nigeria so why are you lying to this Committee and the rest of Nigerians?”, he interrogated.
The company representative however insisted it has only three registered companies, saying: “We have three companies in Nigeria – Petrochemical, Fertilizers and the Indorama Oil and Industrial Services.
The company started in 1995 (but) from 2001 to 2006 there was zero production so we started off in 2006.”
When asked for the addresses of the aforementioned companies, Mr. Leuma said they were located in Eleme, Rivers State but had different operational plants.
The committee was yet not satistied and a resolution was adopted by members to pay an oversight visit to ascertain the true position.
Contributing on the matter, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr. Mohammed Lami, who was asked to appear before the committee, said his agency has nothing to do with waivers or pioneer status.
Mr. Nami, who tendered an unreserved apology to the committee for his inability to appear before it earlier, said the investigation of Indorama by the parliament dates back to 2015 and that FIRS has always provided information as requested.
He said: “The FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or implementing Incentives to local investors or investors coming through the Foreign Direct Investment platform, which is the sole prerogative of the Nigerian Investment romotion Commission (NIPC)” adding:
“The investigation of the three foreign firms, Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizer and Petrochemical Ltd and OIS INDORAMA Eleme Port-Harcourt, started way back in 2015.
The committee in charge of the investigation has consistently been furnished with all required documents by the FIRS”.
According to him, the companies “have been variously granted pioneer status between December 15th, 1997 to 2016 for the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd and between 2017- 2020 for the Indorama Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd respectively.
“Upon expiration of the pioneer period and conclusion of post pioneer Audit, the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd company’s tax file was returned to the Large Tax Office (LTO) Port Harcourt. Thus far, the company has filed its annual returns up to 31st December 2019 with relevant Self-Assessment and paid its attendant liabilities”
Recall that the committee had written a letter of invitation dated 27th May, 2021 to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS to appear at its public hearing slated for 9 June 2021 on alleged revenue leakages involving the three foreign firms