Police Nab MD, Bank Officials

Over Alleged N500m Tax Evasion

BY MICHAEL IKEOGWU

MEN of the Delta State Police Command from Asaba have arrested the  Managing Director of a company, two top bank officials and one other over alleged tax evasion amounting to  over N500million, just as the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR), has reiterated its readiness to recover every kobo owed the state government.

Those arrested were the Managing Director of Godvics Nigeria Limited, situated along Ajamimuogha Street, Warri, Mr. Godfrey Orugbo, whose company is indebted to  the state government to the tune of over N44million and the Chief Accountant of Wesco Nigeria Limited, by Water Resources Junction, Effurun, a company  allegedly owing the state government over N123million.

A top management staff of Keystone Bank PLC was also arrested for his bank’s failure to remit over N262million th the state government. The Internal Controller of Enterprise Bank Limited along Effurun/Sapele Road, whose name was given as Mr. Henry Ojoko, was also arrested. Enterprise Bank (former Spring Bank Plc) is allegedly indebted to the tune of over N79Million.

The Police had earlier on Tuesday, arrested a staff of Mamatan Nigeria Limited situated at No 22 Deco Road, Warri for not paying over N79Million into the coffers of the state government.

The Assistant Manager of Mainstreet Bank Plc, situated at No 33 Effurun/Sapele Road, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government was not left out as he was picked up for his banks inability to remit the over N554Million tax deductions. All those arrested were immediately moved to the Headquarters of the Delta State Police Command for interrogation.

The DBIR and the Police team were led by the legal aide to the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, Barrister Clark Ekpebe. It would be recalled that the DBIR Boss, Hon. Joel-Onowakpo Thomas late may had admonished all banks and companies operating in the state to remit tax deducted or risk the full weight of the law.

Speaking with newsmen before leaving for Asaba yesterday, the Legal Aide to the Executive Chairman, DBIR, Barrister Clark Ikpebe expressed satisfaction over the level of success recorded so far. He noted that the exercise which according to him is a continuous process would be carried out across the length and breadth of Delta.

“I can authoritatively tell you that the clamp down on tax defaulters in the state has been successfull. I can assure that the law will apply to the high and mighty as well as the lowly providing you are owing the state revenue board or you have not remitted what you are supposed to remit as taxes.

Having deducted from your employees you have committed an offence under section 74 of the Personal Income Tax Act as amended 2011.”

“I will advise any defaulter that it is not yet uhuru because we have not visited. In their own interest if you are a defaulter, whether corporate or individual, they should run to the nearest revenue board office in  the state and pay your liability because we will come after you.

Like I have always said, it is a continuous process. As I am talking to you now the auditors and accountants of the Board are compiling names of defaulters as soon as they are through with that they will transfer the name s to the legal department for further action,” Barrister Ekpebe enthused.

The Managing Director of Godvics Nigeria Limited, Mr. Orugbo Godfrey in a swift reaction before he was taken to Asaba, said he was innocent of whatever allegation leveled against him, adding that he was in constant touch with the staff of DBIR towards resolving the controversial amount sent to him as tax.

According to him, “I am innocent. They wrote to me and I responded. I was waiting for the reply of the last letter I wrote to them last month.  They told me what I was owing in a letter and that was when I told them no, that this amount they said I am owing, I am not owing that amount because I was paying tax regularly….I have all the receipts of the tax I have paid to the Delta State Government.”