The Federal Government of Nigeria had threatened to prosecute its citizens who were not paying tax on their properties in foreign countries.
This was made known in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Umar Gwandu on Thursday.
The statement also stated that any bank or intermediary that helps any Nigerian citizen to shield such property would pay the fine which is equivalent to the cost of the property.
According to the statement, “For defaulters who may be tempted to continue concealment of their offshore assets, Executive Order 008 as amended stipulates that any domestic or foreign bank, asset manager or intermediary that cooperates with defaulters, enabling them to conceal offshore assets and obligations pertaining to them shall, upon discovery, be liable to pay to the Federal Government a penalty on the total of such offshore assets, in addition to other penalties provided for under Nigerian laws or laws of foreign countries from which Nigeria can benefit.”
The order is operating through the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme. It is targeted at Nigerian Citizens who are resident in Nigeria but own properties in foreign jurisdictions.
The AGF added that the scheme would work closely with the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit to ascertain the seamless exchange of information.
The statement further, “Executive Order 008 as amended mandates the AGF to set up and implement a Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme referred to as ‘VOARS. VOARS gives all relevant persons and their intermediaries who have defaulted in the declaration of their offshore assets the opportunity to voluntarily declare and regularise their offshore assets.
“The Federal Government hopes that relevant persons amongst Nigerians, Nigerian entities, and their intermediaries will seize the opportunity provided by VOARS to declare and regularise their offshore assets before it is too late.
“Relevant persons who voluntarily declare their offshore assets and pay the stipulated levy to the Federal Government will receive compliance certificates which allow them to use their residual assets freely without hindrance.”