Despite several invitations issued to more than 15 telecoms operators in the Nigerian telecommunications sector over the loss of $30 Bn due to revenue leakages, none of them has considered it worthwhile to honour the invitation of the House of Representatives.
Their refusal to appear before its relevant committees investigating revenue leakages to the tune of over $30billion has, therefore, prompted the House of Representatives, yesterday to give telecom operators in the country seven days within which to honour the invitation of the House to answer charges of tax evasion, over-invoicing and several infractions inimical to the smooth running of the economy.
The House frowned at the attitude of the telecom operators who refused to appear before the Joint House Committees on Finance as well as Banking and Currency investigating the loss of over $30billion by the Nigerian government.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, who is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Rep James Faleke, told the House at plenary, yesterday through a motion of urgent public importance, that the telecom operators through their Incorporated Trustees choose to drag the House to court instead of honouring their invitation.
He said that several invites to 15 telecoms operators, including MTN Nigeria, Glo Mobile Limited, Airtel Nigeria, to appear before them had been shunned.
House of Representatives
Faleke said they have evidence of several infractions against the telecom companies, but choose to give them fair hearing by inviting them to come with their own records, stressing that they failed to show up, but headed to court.
He said their non-appearance was frustrating the investigation by the committee on the alleged $30billion leakages in the sector due to alleged foreign exchange frauds.
Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila said the House will not condone such actions from operators within the Nigerian economy, stressing that the implication of failing to honour summons by the lawmakers amount to contempt of the legislature.
The Speaker said none of the telecom companies in the country is above the law, but asked the committee to give them one more chance to appear, adding that “if within seven days, they fail to appear, we will begin the process of invoking the Constitution to force them to appear.”