British American Tobacco Nigeria has respond to a publication by the Independent newspaper on the allegation of N30 trillion revenue loss. This is the responds through the company’s Legal and External Affairs Director, Mr. Freddy Messanvi made available to Lagos Post on Thursday.
The statement reads thus;
An article was issued today the 10th of August, 2017 by the Independent stating that “11 firms own up to N30 trillion revenue loss in the Nigerian import and export value chain”. British American Tobacco Nigeria emphatically demands for a retraction of the article as it grossly misrepresents the facts and defamates the character of a reputable organisation such as ours.
British American Tobacco Nigeria, as a good corporate citizen operating in Nigeria, willingly complied with the Senate Committee’s invitation in relation to allegations of its involvement in the N30 trillion revenue alleged to have been lost to the Federal Government. We have since been proactively involved through engagements, verification and reconciliation activities with a view to demonstrating our level of compliance in this regard.
As part of our engagement efforts, we met with the Senate Committee yesterday the 9th of August, 2017 to further demonstrate our willingness to comply with their directives. We were therefore disconcerted by the inaccurate information emerging from the article as proper due diligence was not carried out by the Independent to investigate and determine the minutiae of the visit.Furthermore, British American Tobacco Nigeria’s understanding of the situation is that we were invited to explain discrepancies between our reconciliation of duties paid to the Nigerian Customs services over a period of time and not to defend ourselves over fraudulent activities.
We have a history of ensuring 100% custom duty payments are disbursed on time and in full to secure an incessant flow of required materials. We also ensure we abide by Central Bank of Nigeria and Customs guidelines in relation to import and export processes as required and demanded by the law.
The peculiar article published by the media house infringes on the rights of genuine organisations to operate and contribute meaningfully to the Nigerian economy while creating barriers in the ease of doing business in the country.
Whilst we respect the rights of the media to report news trending, our expectation is that proper due diligence should be carried out to validate publications and ensure a balance of views on critical issues is maintained, especially as their statements might infringe on the integrity of credible organisations.
We therefore insist that the article be retracted immediately, failing which we shall be taking legal steps against the Independent.