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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has arrested Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of three companies in Lagos for alleged failure to remit N2.17 billion taxes.

In a statement at the weekend by the FIRS Director of Communications and Liaison Department, Mr. Emmanuel Obeta, the agency said the enforcement drive, led by an Assistant Director of Legal and Prosecution Department, Mr. Abu Stephen, is aimed at recovering arrears of taxes accruing to the government from Company Income Tax (CIT), Education Tax (EDT), Withholding Tax (WHT) and Value Added Tax (VAT).

He said the FIRS served many notices on the companies to pay their outstanding tax liabilities or be compelled to do so.

The statement added that the companies and their liabilities are: Pivot Engineering Limited, N609,911,992:36; Reliance Telecommunications Limited, N592,756,627:00; HITV Limited, N309,500,065:55; and UTC Nigeria Plc, N277,589,163:74

Others are: Sweet Sensation Confectionary Limited, N155,483,013:00; Entertainment Highway Limited, N197,444,964:55 and John Holt Nigeria Limited, N33,073,487:52.

The statement reads: “However, some of the companies had admitted their outstanding tax liabilities when the enforcement team called at their offices. For instance, Mr. Opedemowo Olayemi, the Chief Accountant of Sweet Sensation Confectionary Limited, said the company was owing N60 million for VAT alone.

“Also, Mr. Dada Arokoyu of UTC and Mr. Muyiwa Fojude of Pivot agreed that their companies had outstanding tax liability to settle with the FIRS.

“Similarly, when the team visited HITV Ltd, Entertainment Highway Ltd and Reliance Communications Ltd, their offices were under lock and key, but security at the gates attended to the enforcement team.

“At HITV and Entertainment the team was told that the GTBank sealed off the premises following a court order. Reliance Communication was sealed upon the directive of the Chairman of the company.

“The arrest is a warning to other organisations and individuals on the need to ensure deductions and remittance of their tax obligation as provided by Part V1, Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007.

It states: “Any person who, being obliged to deduct any tax under this act or the laws listed in the First Schedule to this Act, but fails to deduct or having deducted, fails to pay to the Service within 30 days from the date the amount was deducted or the time the duty to deduct arose, commits an offence and shall, upon conviction, be liable to pay the tax withheld or not remitted in addition to a penalty of 10 per cent of the tax withheld or not remitted per annum and interest at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria minimum re-discount rate and imprisonment for period of not more than three years.’’

-The nation

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