Patrick Odey, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service on Friday sealed off all the zonal offices of Ecobank and Union Bank in the state for allegedly evading state taxes.
Our correspondent learnt that the agency’s action followed an exparte order it obtained from the Akwa Ibom State High Court, Uyo Division directing that the premises be sealed off.
The debts were said to run into millions of naira.
The notice indicated that the affected organisations “have not been remitting the actual tax deductible from their employees’ salaries and other relevant taxes due to the state; hence, failed to comply with the provisions of relevant tax laws.”
The Executive Director, Enforcement and Recovery of the agency, Mr Leo Umanah, who spoke to journalists in Uyo, the state capital, said the revenue service had written to the affected banks on a number of occasions, inviting them for reconciliation and negotiation.
He said the banks failed to honour the invitations or reply its letters, adding that the agency was left with no option than to get the court order to recover the state revenue.
Umanah stated that by the order, all branches of Ecobank and Union Bank in the state were expected.
He noted that the banks had 14 days to negotiate with AKIRS to vacate the order, adding, “After 14 days of non-compliance, we have the mandate of the court to sell the property and recover the tax owed the state.”
Umanah added that over 200 business outfits had evaded state taxes running into billions of naira.
He said with the ongoing enforcement drive, the tax authority was poised on recovering all outstanding revenues that would help the state government complete its projects.