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Niger seals First Bank branches over N147m tax evasion

11 April 2014, 16:01

Minna - The Niger State Board of Internal Revenue on Thursday shut the premises of some branches of First Bank Plc in Minna over alleged tax evasion.

The board Chairman, Hussaini Ahmed, said the action followed the inability of the bank to meet its obligation in respect of tax payment.

He said that the board had discovered from its tax audit on the bank branches in Minna from 2006 to 2011, that there was a gross under declaration of the income tax of the workers.

Ahmed said that failure of the bank to remit withholding tax as well as the development levies of its staff was an offence.

He alleged that the bank had defaulted in the payment of its tax to the tune of N147 million, saying that after several correspondences the bank remained adamant over the matter.

Ahmed further explained that the premises of the bank would remain closed for any business transactions until the unremitted taxes were fully paid to the government.

“The tax law is very clear in a situation where an individual or private organisation failed to remit their taxes; the appropriate laws must be enforced as it is in this case.

“The management of the bank had failed to response to the tax audit,” he alleged.

Ahmed said that the board would always follow due process in exercising its power as it had obtained a court order on the issue.

The chairman warned that other organisations would also be sealed up if they failed to response to the tax audit sent to them.

A customer of the bank, Duke Paul expressed displeasure over the closure of the bank, saying that it had affected his business and his family.

He said that his money was trapped in the bank because he had no ATM card to withdraw his money at other bank branches.

This is the first time the tax board in the state was sealing any big company over the tax evasion.

Meanwhile, officials of the bank refused to make any comment on the matter.

-       NAN

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