The Executive Chairman of Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Terzungwe Atser, has disclosed that the Service has effected the arrest of about 60 persons apprehended with illegal tax receipts and also operating illegal check points in the state between October, 2018 and March, 2019.
The BIRS boss explained that out of this number forty eight of them have been charged to court, four were in police custody, while eight cases were still pending, according to a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Dennis Mernyi.
He stated that the clampdown on operators of illegal taxation and check points is part of measures to check multiple taxation in the state disclosing that “this will be sustained until they are chased out of business in the state”.
Atser who made these disclosures today during series of meetings held with traditional rulers, youths and leaders of communities where these road blocks are mounted in some parts of the state.
He warned that anyone caught mounting illegal road blocks and collecting tolls would be likened to an armed robber and summarily dealt with in accordance with the law.
The BIRS Executive Chairman further lamented that illegal taxation and check points have posed a serious challenge to revenue collection in the state, as most of the operators possess fictitious receipts with which they carry out their criminal activities.
He explained that also culpable were some traditional rulers and politicians who have their own receipts, adding that no matter how highly placed those people were the law would take it course when they were caught.
Atser also threatened to arrest traditional rulers, community leaders and heads of households in whose domain these illegalities were perpetrated, should the culprits operating in their areas evade arrest.
He pointed out that BIRS had before now been lenient with offenders, stressing “We have not utilised our powers well enough, but we are ready to invoke those powers now.”
While he stated that the development was giving the state a bad name, Atser expressed regret that the actions of the illegal operators has affected prices of farm produce as farmers were forced to sell their produce at low cost due to excessive illegal taxation.
At a meeting with Ter Gwer, Chief Dominic Akpe at his palace in Aliade, Atser stated the criminal activities of these illegal tax operators have so fsr given the state a very bad name as the only state where such activities are rampant.
In his remarks, Chief Akpe said, his council has earlier directed all their subjects to ensure parents hold their children.
He also frowned at the attitude of some politicians who recruits the youths that embark on the illegal conduct in the area.
He encouraged Atser to ensure immediate end to the activities of those ruining the state government.