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Ebonyi shuts down GTB over alleged tax indebtedness

By Charles Onyekwere, South-East Correspondent

Ebonyi government has closed down Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) in Abakaliki, the state capital, over alleged tax indebtedness.

A taskforce from Ebonyi State Board of Internal Revenue Service carried out the exercise, while the workers were attending to customers on Tuesday morning. The taskforce leader, Mr. Okoro Celestine, who is also the head of Integrated Revenue, Ebonyi State Board of Internal Revenue Service, said that the closure was necessitated by the inability of the bank to respond to demand notices to pay its accumulated tax.

He also disclosed that the taskforce sought for court order before coming to seal the bank. He explained that several demand notices were served to the bank from January 14th till date, but there was no response. “The reason we sealed the bank was that they have not been paying their taxes and levies which have accumulated,” he said.

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“This is not the first time we are coming here; several demand notices had been served to them from January 14, 2022 till date, and we have a procedure, we don’t just come and seal. A court order was granted for us to come and seal it. “First demand notice was giving to them; a remind notice was also giving to them but they refused. We don’t have any other option; we are not going to fight them other than to do the needful by soughting court order to seal them.

“We feel that it is very necessary for it to be sealed today. We are not going to unseal it until they comply. We didn’t just start this journey today; it has been from January till date which is seven months.”

However, the amount of money owed as tax was not disclosed but a source said that the bank was owing over hundred million naira to Ebonyi State government. All efforts to get the reaction of the bank manager failed as he declined to speak on the matter.

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