For sure, it has not been a 7 days to remember for Integrated Logistics Services (Intels), the services company owned by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. Last week, without any warning, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) terminated the lucrative pilotage arrangement that it had with the company. Although the company has come out to say it will fight the decision, Intels may have to split their focus to multiple fronts as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has added to a miserable week for Atiku’s Intels as the agency accused the company of not paying taxes.
This is the interpretation given to the non-compliance sticker pasted at the Onne headquarters of the company by the tax collection agency. With the action, the FIRS is implying that the company has not been complying with the company’s tax obligations – value-added tax Act Cap VI, and companies income tax, CIT Cap C21, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014 and other tax laws, as an FIRS official affirmed despite refusing to state the exact amount Intels owes in taxes.
Despite this action of the FIRS, the agency went to great lengths to emphasize that the sticker did not mean that the company was shut for business. “FIRS did not carry out any enforcement on Intels. Our team only pasted a non-compliance sticker on the premises of the company… the non-compliance stickers are routine. We did not seal nor close the company. Intels is free to carry out its operations. It is not a distrain sticker.”
To many political analysts who considered the termination of the pilotage arrangement as a direct attack on the former Vice-President, who rumors say is in the contention for the 2019 Presidential race, the FIRS sticker will add fuel to their conspiracy theories. It is expected that pressure will mount in the coming days for FIRS to publish the details of the amount owed. If true, though, this part of the miserable week for Atiku’s Intels cannot be blamed on anyone but themselves.