In a bid to go after wealthy tax defaulters, the Federal government has stumbled on one of the most shocking discoveries of the year. An investigation revealed that the multi-million dollar worth of super luxury gadgets, about 200 of them in Nigeria, was registered under shell companies while the identities of the real owners are left to speculation.
A handful of rich Nigerians, including religious leaders, have been said to own private jets under such conditions. Experts are, however, worried that the practice, besides aiding tax evasion, poses a security risk and violates the guiding Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs). Except those owned by the presidency (presidential fleet), key government agencies like the police, customs and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), state governments like Rivers and multinationals companies, others were registered under non-trading companies.
It was learned that most of the owners get lawyers that are versed in international and company laws to register shell companies on their behalf in offshore tax havens in Europe and the Middle East where little or no tax is paid.