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Court threatens to sell Ecobank and Union Bank branches

@ecobank_nigeria and @UNIONBANK_NG risk losing all their branches in Akwa Ibom after they were shut down with operation placed on hold. The court ordered the closure of the banks’ branches, with an order to sell them within fourteen days.

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Ecobank and Union Bank branches shutdown Akwa Ibom, Ecobank and Union Bank accused of evading tax, Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service

Ecobank and Union Bank risk losing all their branches in Akwa Ibom after they were shut down with their operations placed on hold. The State High Court, Uyo Division ordered the closure of the banks’ branches, with an order to sell them within fourteen days.

Tax evasion: The decision made by the court was prompted by an application filed by Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS) accusing both banks of tax evasion.

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[READ ALSO: Fine: MTN wants tribunal to overule FIRS on tax deduction]

According to a report, a notice pasted outside the branches reveals that the banks “have not been remitting the actual tax-deductible from their employees’ salaries and other relevant taxes due to the state, hence, failed to comply with the provisions of relevant tax laws.”

Ecobank and Union Bank, Ecobank and Union Bank branches shutdown Akwa Ibom, Ecobank and Union Bank accused of evading tax, Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service

Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service closing one of Ecobank’s branch. (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

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The court granted an ex parte order to recover the state revenue. Although the amount wasn’t disclosed, the debts were said to run into millions of naira. And to recover the debts, AKIRS has received a mandate to sell the branches if the banks don’t negotiate with it within the next 14 days.

“After 14 days of non-compliance, we have the mandate of the court to sell the property and recover the tax owed the state.”

Banks ignored dialogue: The tax agency said it tried to resolve the tax issue out of court but Ecobank and Union Bank neither honour invitations nor reply the letters sent to them. This provoked the Akwa Ibom’s tax agency to seek redress in court.

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[READ ALSO: Taxes you need to be aware of if you are about to start a business]

Ecobank and Union Bank are, however, not the only organisations involved in the tax evasion according to the tax agency. It was revealed that billions of naira are stuck with over 200 companies trying to evade state taxes.

Why the crackdown? The Director, Enforcement and Recovery of the tax authority, Leo Umanah, reiterated AKIRS’ commitment to recover revenues owed to Akwa Ibom State in order to enable the government work and conclude state projects.

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Patricia

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]ics.com.

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Hospitality & Travel

Passengers can now arrive 90 minutes before departure for domestic flights – FG

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international passengers, Coronavirus: FG enforces immediate screening of travellers at airports with new directive

The Federal Government has announced the reduction of arrival time for passengers from three hours to one hour and a half before departure for domestic flights.

This was disclosed in a tweet post by the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, through his Twitter handle on Monday, July 13, 2020.

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The minister said that the decision was arrived at after they have reviewed passenger facilitation at the airport while noting that passengers should check-in online.

In the tweet post, Sirika said, ‘’My colleagues and I have reviewed passenger facilitation at our airports, consequently I am happy to announce that, henceforth travellers are to arrive one hour and half before their departure time for domestic flights. Travellers are advised to check-in online, please.’’

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It can be recalled that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had earlier in June issued flight resumption protocol for both international and local passengers across the country, advising passengers to arrive at the airport three hours before their time due to the new COVID-19 safety checks for domestic flight operations and five hours for international flight operations.

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Economy & Politics

Seyi Makinde Proposes N3 billion investment plan for water supply

The local governments in Oyo are advised to submit a list of 10 faulty boreholes in the LG. 

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Seyi Makinde Proposes N3 Billion plan for water supply

The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde announced the proposal of a N3 billion investment plan dedicated to water supply in rural and urban areas of the state.

Speaking through the Chairman of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mr. Najeem Omirinde in Ibadan on Monday, he added that N500 million of the N3 billion would be used for repairing broken and faulty state-owned boreholes.

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All Chairmen of each of the Local Governments in Oyo are advised to submit a list of 10 faulty boreholes in the Local governments.

The Oyo State governor also ordered that all new boreholes must be compliant with solar-powered pumps, to enable their longevity and save costs.

Urging residents to patronize the agency if they need to dig up boreholes for water, citing that it would be cheaper if done through the state agency than with private drilling companies.

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Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed stated last year that Nigeria needs an estimated N36 trillion annually for the next 30 years to solve Nigeria’s infrastructure problem. The investment, although a tiny fraction of what Nigeria needs is a bold step by the Oyo State government.

 

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Economy & Politics

FG asks UK court for more time to appeal $9.6 billion arbitration judgement

Malami stated that the Evidence of P&ID’s highly orchestrated scam had only recently come to light. 

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FG asks UK court for more time to appeal $9.6 billion arbitration judgement

The Federal Government has approached a UK court to appeal for more time to appeal the $9.6 billion arbitration award against it over the breach of contract with Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd.

Nigeria has said that it needs more time to pursue its argument that the 2010 gas supply contract with Process & Industrial Development Ltd was a sham.

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The legal dispute with P&ID is coming against the backdrop of the huge drop in the country’s revenue due to the collapse in oil prices globally. Nigeria had applied to US courts in March seeking for documents from 10 banks which includes Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co, in a bid to prove its corruption allegations.

P&ID, however, has denied any wrongdoing in the whole transaction, arguing that Nigeria missed its opportunity to appeal.

The Nigerian Lawyer, Mark Howard, on Monday, the first morning of a 2-day hearing, said ‘’It is very unusual in a fraud case to discover a single smoking gun. By its very nature, fraud is conducted in secret, which makes it hard to detect and justifies an extension.’

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READ MORE: The effect of the United States’ Shale Oil on Nigeria?

The legal representatives for Nigeria are seeking another hearing for the judge to decide whether any misconduct has taken place and whether it justifies overturning the contract

The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami in a statement said, ‘’Evidence of P&ID’s highly orchestrated scam had only recently come to light.’’

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It can be recalled that last year, a UK judge upheld an earlier arbitration award to P&ID, which had accumulated to about $9.6 billion. The arbitration decision was over a failed contract to build a gas processing plant in the Southern city of Calabar.

The Nigerian lawyers disclosed that they have uncovered alleged bribes to government officials and their family members dating back to 2009.

Malami in his court filing on March 24, submitted that ‘’There is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria.’’

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