The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, (AKIRS) early on Friday morning sealed off all the zonal offices of Eco Bank and Union Bank in the state over alleged tax evasion.
We have gathered from our source that the debt runs into millions of naira.
It was also gathered that the state government agency, before sealing off the premises, acquired an exparte order tagged ” Notice of distrain ” from the Akwa Ibom State High Court, Uyo Division, ordering that access to the premises and their facilities be restricted.
The notice reads that the organizations served “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.”
The Executive Director, Enforcement and Recovery, AKIRS, Mr Leo Umanah, who spoke to newsmen, said the board had before now written to the banks on several occasions inviting them for reconciliation and negotiations.
He pointed out that since they have refused to reply or avail themselves for reconciliation and negotiations over the long period of time given them, AKIRS was left with no choice but get exparte order in order to recover State Government’s revenue.
Umanah stressed that by the seal off, all branches of Eco Bank and Union Bank in the State are expected to comply with the Court Order else face appropriate sanctions.
He added that the banks which have been served notice of distrain under the law, have 14 days to negotiate with AKIRS and vacate the order, warning that, “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.”
Umanah disclosed that 200 business outfits have evaded the state government’s taxes in sum running into billions of naira.
He insisted that in the ongoing enforcement drive of AKIRS, the tax authority was poised to recovering government revenue with the view to helping the Akwa Ibom government realise its completion agenda.