The Nigeria Labour Congress has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe the operations of MTN Nigeria following allegations of illicit financial flow and tax evasion levelled against the firm.
The union said it had been vindicated by a recent report by the Central Bank of Nigeria on the alleged illicit activities of the company and the tax evasion report of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation against MTN.
The President, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday that the congress had earlier highlighted alleged labour laws, local content law and security breaches by MTN, which led to the death of some security personnel in the North-East conflict areas.
He asked the telecom firm to immediately pay the $2bn in tax arrears as well as the $8.13bn it was alleged to have illegally repatriated to South Africa and for which four banks were penalised by the CBN.
Wabba also urged the Federal Government to spare no effort in recovering the money “as anything to the contrary will send wrong signals to other corporate organisations it had punished for lesser tax infractions.”
He stated, “We at the Nigeria Labour Congress hereby urge MTN Nigeria to comply without further delay with the directive of the Federal Government to pay $2bn in tax arrears as well as the $8.13bn it was said to have illegally repatriated to South Africa over which four indigenous banks have been fined.
“Coupled with the demand that MTN should obey our national laws by allowing unionisation, we urge critical government agencies such as the Nigerian Communication Commission, the EFCC, the Department of State Services, Nigeria Immigration Service and the CBN to closely look into the operations of the company, especially in the light of the Thabo Mbeki report.”
The NLC said it had earlier exposed other alleged acts of impunity by MTN in spite of the fact that 60 per cent of its global income was coming from Nigeria.
The union called on the government to use this opportunity to send an appropriate message to everyone, especially corporate organisations that often paid taxes in the breach.