The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, AKIRS has shut gates of Keystone and Heritage banks for failing to pay their taxes amounting to over N228m.
Our Correspondent gathered that the two banks located along Abak Road and Ikot Road respectively were sealed up by the revenue agency on Thursday as they could not settle their arrears of tax liabilities in the state.
According to the Executive Director in charge of Enforcement and Debt Recovery of the Revenue Board Mr Leo Umana, the ceiling of the two banks complied with its enforcement drive.
Umana said Heritage Bank has failed to pay N100,270,910 while Keystone Bank has refused to pay N128,413,882 owed to the state government as tax liabilities.
He said the two banks were sealed after an expert order of Notice of Distraint was obtained by the State Revenue Service from Akwa Ibom State High Court, Uyo Division
“The Court Order was signed by Hon Justice Effiong Effiong who ordered that access to the bank premises and its facilities be restricted.”
The Court Order which was sighted by newsmen in Uyo stated that the two banks have not been remitting actual tax from employee salaries as well as other taxes meant for the state.
The order of the court reads in parts :
“The banks have not been remitting the actual tax deductible from its employees’ salaries and other relevant taxes due to the State; hence failed to comply with the provisions of relevant tax laws.”
Umana said the banks were given warning notices but failed to comply after several months.
He explained that the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service had exhausted reconciliation and negotiation opportunities with the organizations before they settled for action.
He also pointed out that since the bank’s management have refused to remit taxes accruing to the State despite the long period given them, the revenue agency was left with no option but to secure the exparte order as a move to recover State Government revenue.
Umana noted that for the banks that served the Notice of Distrain, under the law, they have 14 days to negotiate with AKIRS and vacate the order.
” If after 14 days, they do not comply, we have the mandate of the court to sell the property and recover the tax owed the State.”
He said that the ongoing enforcement drive of the Akwa Ibom Revenue Service is aimed at recovering State government revenue and assisting the state to realize its A-R-I-S-E agenda.
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