The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), yesterday ramped up its tax enforcement drive when its teams shut down premises of companies with tax liabilities in Warri, Delta State, Lagos and Ilorin, Kwara states.
In Warri, the enforcement team visited two companies. At JAD Construction, along Enerhen Road, the FIRS team evicted all its workers before sealing off the premises over unremitted taxes in excess of N400million, accumulated from 2013.
Efforts by a management staff, simply identified as Mr. Ben, to present some tax clearance documents as prove of payment were rebuffed as the enforcement team insisted they had a duty to seal unless there was verifiable evidence of the payment of the said arrears.
“These defaulters had the option of clearing the arrears to avoid being sealed even at the point we came in. Now they still have a duty to settle the debt to get unsealed. If they fail to settle the arrears or attempt to operate under FIRS lock and key, we have other measures of enforcement against them,” said Mandeun.
At Bredero Pipelines Services at Sedco Road, Uvwie Local Government Area, the team met a team of policemen at the premises. The policemen claimed the company has been shut for more than three years following a court injunction restraining the workers or management from working pending the determination of court case between management and staff. The company has an aggregate debt tax of N178,638,649.90
In Lagos, the enforcement team, led by Chinazor Edeh, visited Dee Jones Petroleum and Gas Limited at Beachland Estate, Apapa. The company is said to owe N31million, a tax debt the operational manager said he was not aware of.
He later phoned the company’s tax consultant, who admitted that the company was owing but asked for more time to enable it pay.
This was rejected by Edeh, who insisted that the company had to pay immediately or have its premises shut. He therefore ordered the premises shut.
In Ilorin, the team visited Kwara Hotels, where its new management, Integrated Services Limited, explained that it was neither aware that the previous management had a N10.5million tax liability nor of correspondences between the hotel and the FIRS. The argument ended when a call was put the FIRS headquarters, which confirmed the existence of the hotel’s tax liabilities. The new management then signed an undertaking to reach the previous management and revert to the FIRS within 30 days.
Also in Ilorin, the FIRS team visited Henry George Company Limited, which owes a little over N2million. But the company escaped being shut having paid a part of money the previous day and its officials were headed to the bank to pay the balance while the enforcement team was in the premises.
Two days ago, an FIRS enforcement team visited the premises of Eagle Package Printing Limited in Otta, Ogun State, over a tax liability in excess of N21million. However, the company was not sealed, as members of its management ordered the payment of N10million.