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Tax Evasion: Akwa Ibom Government mandated to sell banks’ property over N229m liabilities if…. –AKIRS Director

*The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service  has threatened to sell off Keystone and Heritage Bank branches’ property and recover the tax allegedly owed the state, if they fail to pay up their purported tax liabilities within 14 days

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For alleged failure to remit outstanding tax liabilities totalling about N229 million to the tax authorities, the Akwa Ibom State Government through its Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS) has sealed off branches of three commercial banks in the state.

ConsumerConnect learnt the Akwa Ibom tax regulators shut the affected financial institutions Thursday, October 26, 2023, during an exercise conducted by the revenue board’s Enforcement and Recovery Department.

The affected banks included two Keystone Bank branches, along Abak Road and Ikot Ekpene Road, in Uyo, the state capital, as well as Heritage Bank branch, located along Aka Road, in Uyo.

The move to shut and halt banking operations at the facilities reportedly followed an order of Notice of Distrain from the Akwa Ibom State High Court, Eket Judicial Division.

Banks have refused to pay despite notices, says AKIRS Executive Director

Speaking to reporters at a media briefing on the development in Uyo, Leo Umana, Executive Director, Enforcement and Recovery of the Revenue Board, said Heritage Bank had failed to remit its N100,270,910 tax liabilities to the state while Keystone Bank refused to pay N128,413,882 owed to the state government as tax liabilities.

Umana said: “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.”

The Executive Director, Enforcement and Recovery of the Revenue Board, also disclosed that the affected banks were given warning notices, but failed to comply with the reminders after several months.

According to the official, the AKIRS had exhausted reconciliation and negotiation opportunities with the financial institutions before resorting to court action.

He stressed that under the law, the banks that are served the notices to distrain have 14 days to negotiate with AKIRS and vacate the order.

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