The Benue Board of Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), has sealed up six firms, including three commercial banks, over alleged non-payment of taxes to the tune of N 774.5 million.
Executive Chairman, BIRS, Mrs. Mimi Orubibi, who led the team that carried out the exercise on Wednesday in Makurdi, said the firms had failed to remit Personal Income Tax/Assets to BIRS.
The banks sealed were Access Bank, Ecobank and UBA. Also sealed were Ostrich Bakery, Nile Drill Technologies and Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority (LBRDA), all situated within Makurdi metropolis.
Orubibi said the closure was to enforce the orders of a Makurdi High Court. “The closure of the outfits is in compliance with Section 104 of the Personal Income Tax Act, 2011 (amended), and Section 41(1), (3) and (4) of the Benue State Internal Revenue Administration Law 2015,” she explained.
She alleged that Ecobank Bank was owing N168.5 million; UBA, N186 million, while Access Bank was owing N141 million in unpaid taxes.
According to her, Ostrich Bakery is owes N47 million, LBRBDA, N225 million, while Nile Drill Technologies owes N4 million.
She said LBRBDA’s headquarters in Makurdi was sealed due to its failure to pay the assessed PAYE Taxes/liabilities, withholding tax and other levies.
She claimed that the accounts of the affected companies were audited between 2009 and 2014, while some had their accounts audited between 2011 and 2015, but all failed to remit their taxes.
TBI Africa reports that UBA is one of the banks through which the Benue government pays workers’ salaries.
Our correspondents, who visited some of the affected companies, observed that security guards had sealed up their entries, leaving workers and customers stranded.
Efforts to get the reactions of the affected companies proved abortive as their Makurdi officials refused to comment.
“This matter is beyond us. Only the headquarters can speak about it,” a senior officer with one of the banks, disclosed to TBI Africa, craving anonymity.