DG, NECA, Segun Oshinowo
By Linda Eroke
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has gone to court to challenge the appointment of Olusola Adekanola as tax consultant by the House Committee on Finance to investigate the tax returns of private companies.
The action of NECA follows the failure of the House Committee to restrain its Consultant from commencing audit and inspection of the books of companies in the private sector despite strong opposition by the association.
Director General of NECA, Dr. Segun Oshinowo, weekend, said the association had been compelled to embrace the only option left to it by going to court, adding that the Chambers of Tunji Abayomi & Co had on behalf of NECA filed an originating summons in the Federal High Court for an interpretation of Sections 88 and 89 of the Federal Constitution.
The prayers before the Court are as follows: “A declaratory judgement that the investigatory powers of the House of Representatives granted by Section 88 and 89 of the 1999Constitution as amended and exercisable through the House Committee on Finance does not extend to the Plaintiff (NECA) member Companies for the stated purpose to wit ‘to ensure that all revenues accruing to the Federation are remitted fully and appropriately’.
“A declaratory judgement that the stated purpose of the investigation of the House Committee on Finance ‘to ensure that all revenue accruing to the Federation are remitted fully and appropriately’ is inconsistent with the powers of the House of Representatives having regard to Section 5 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, Section 3 (1) of the companies income Tax Act Cap 21 Laws of Federation (2004), Section 2 (1) of Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, Cap 72 Laws of the Federation (2004) and all other relevant laws.
“A declaratory judgement that the House Committee on Finance cannot as agent of the House of Representatives compel the cooperation or attendance, exact information or evidence or conduct any inquiry, howsoever or whatsoever of Plaintiff (NECA)’s member companies in exercise of the investigative powers vested on the House by Section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“A declaratory judgement that the member companies of the Plaintiff (NECA) not being ‘persons’, ‘authority’, ‘government ministry’, ‘government department’, which executes or administers law made by the National Assembly, disburses or administers monies appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly are outside the investigatory powers of the House of Representatives for the purpose stated by the House Committee on Finance under Section 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“An injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th defendants (Attorney General of the Federation, Speaker, House of Representatives,, Clerk, National Assembly, Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Olusola Adekanola & Co) from proceeding, howsoever, with the investigation of ‘Corporate Tax Returns (2006-2011)’ published by way of public notice in an advertisement at 51, No 6188, volume 17, THISDAY Newspaper of April 2, 2012.
However, the Court is yet to determine the date of the hearing of the motion. In the meantime, NECA has directed its entire member companies not to open their doors to Olusola Adekanola & Co.