Keystone, Heritage Banks sealed for alleged N228 Million tax fraud by AKIRS

Ekemini Simon

The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, AKIRS has sealed off the premises of defaulting tax payers in its tax compliance enforcement drive.

The tax agency in the early hours of today, Thursday, October 26, 2023 sealed
off the Uyo branches of Keystone Bank and Heritage Bank for failure to settle outstanding tax liabilities running into N228.68 million.

According to the Executive Director, Enforcement and Recovery, AKIRS, Mr Leo Umana, Heritage Bank has failed to remit its N100,270,910 tax liabilities to the State while Keystone Bank tax liabilities run into N128,413,882.

For Keystone Bank its two branches at Abak road and Ikot Ekpene road were sealed off while Heritage Bank located at Aka Road were sealed off after the State government Agency had acquired an exparte order of Notice of Distrain from the Akwa Ibom State High Court, Uyo Division.

The Court Order signed by Hon Justice Effiong Effiong orders that access to the bank premises and its facilities be restricted.

The Notice of Distrain 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.”

Umana said the banks were given warning notices but failed to comply after several months.

The Executive Director Board on Enforcement and Recovery said AKIRS had exhausted reconciliation and negotiation opportunities with the organizations hence the action.

He pointed out that since they have refused to remit taxes accruing to the State despite the long period of time given them, AKIRS is left with no choice but get exparte order in order to recover State Government revenue.

Umana noted that for the banks served the Notice of Distrain, under the law, they have 14 days to negotiate with AKIRS and vacate the order. He added ” 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 in the ongoing enforcement drive of AKIRS, the Service is poised on recovering State government revenue thus help the state government realize its ARISE agenda.

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