Banking

Tax evasion: Kogi govt seals First Bank branches

Kogi State Government has sealed all branches of First Bank Nigeria PLC operating in the state following an order by a High Court sitting in Lokoja.

The order was carried out by men of the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service following the inability of the bank to liquidate its outstanding tax liabilities of over N411.12 million to the Kogi State government.

Speaking with journalists on the development in his office, Bar. Saidu Okino, Director, Legal Services of the KGIRS, said the amount represents outstanding withholding tax from the bank’s mobile banking agents from 2015 to 2022.

He said that the action of the board was a result of the refusal of the bank to liquidate the liability despite several demand notices to that effect.

Okino said that approaching the court was as a last resort as all other measures to make the bank pay up proved abortive.

He said: ”Before we went to court, there was a Demand Notice to that effect dated 12th day of October 2021, and signed by the then acting chairman, Abubakar Yusuf.

“We made several attempts. We sent them a notice of the intention of the service to take a warrant of distrain so that we can do whatever is needful, on the 25th day of February 2022, but we were ignored.

“On the 25th of August, 2022, Notice of Refusal to amend their liability was served on them. We did not on our own roll out our machineries to go and seal.”

The Board also sought an order that “the defendant bears the cost of executing the distrain in pursuance of section 104(5) of PITA and section 51(5) of the Kogi State Harmonized Tax Law, 2017, as accessed in the sum of N250,000 per site each day.

The presiding judge, Justice Rukkayat Ayoola in her ruling granted all the reliefs sought in the Motion Ex-parte supported by an eight-paragraph affidavit and deposed by Mohammed Ibrahim, a civil servant.

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