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Money laundering: Buhari makes new executive order

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 IN furtherance of his administration’s campaign against graft, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday released Order 8 into law.

The new order is meant to regulate money laundering and tax evasion.

The new executive law entitled: ‘Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme, VOARS’ took effect from Monday, October 8, 2018, the day it was signed by President Buhari.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made this known in a Facebook post yesterday.

According to the law, Nigerian taxpayers who hold offshore assets and incomes are expected to, within a period of 12 months, declare voluntarily those assets and pay taxes on them by the order in exchange for deriving certain specified benefits.

“Any taxpayer who truthfully and voluntarily complies with the conditions of the scheme, pays a one-time levy of 35 percent on the total offshore assets or pays all outstanding taxes, penalties and interest after forensic audit of their offshore assets and income shall obtain immunity from prosecution for tax offenses and offences related to offshore assets, among others.

Equally, failure of any defaulting taxpayer to take advantage of this scheme shall, at the expiration of the scheme result in investigation and enforcement procedures concerning offshore assets anywhere in the world pursuant to information now readily available through automatic exchange of information between Nigeria and foreign countries,” the order reads in part.

Shehu further explained that under the new order, Federal Government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will set up a VOARS in Switzerland for all categories of taxpayers who have defaulted in the declaration of their offshore assets, payment of taxes due and collectible subject to the fulfillment of the terms and conditions as stipulated in the order, or any other subsequent complementary regulations that follow.

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