Tax evasionEnugu State government has sealed eight banks for failure to remit to its coffers about N1billion in withholding taxes said to have accrued since 2007.
As early as 6.00 a.m. yesterday, enforcement officials of the State Board of Internal Revenue had stormed the premises of the affected banks and effected a high court order, an action which the agency stated, was a last resort to recover the money.
Bank workers who reported to work in the morning were surprised to see their entrances firmly padlocked with “sealed by court order” notice conspicuously placed on their wall. Customers, who had also visited the banks for some transactions, could not gain access into the premises.
Chairman of the revenue board, Mr. Emeka Odo, told reporters that they had written the affected banks in the past one year and held several meetings on the subject matter to no avail.
Odo who added that the sealing of the banks was the first phase of the enforcement exercise on major companies and institutions to ensure that they perform their civic obligation to the state government, said the upgrading of critical infrastructural facilities, which government embarked upon, needed funds to be completed.
He said the banks would not be reopened to operate until they remitted all they owed the state, adding that “the government had been so lenient before now in that it wanted the banks to relax and do their businesses but I think that have taken the government’s leniency for granted and we are saying enough is enough.”
He, therefore, appealed to bank customers affected by the exercise to bear with the state government, assuring that the banks, as responsible corporate institutions, would not allow the development linger.
Efforts to get officials of the affected banks’ comment on the development yesterday proved abortive. They, however, converged at the premises of the revenue agency, apparently to further dialogue on the issue.