The enforcement unit of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), on Friday, 13th May, 2016, continued its closure of big companies in Lagos and across the country for non-payment of a variety of taxes. In Lagos, FIRS officials the shut down the premises of RT Briscoe Nigeria PLC, Sinopec Nigeria, an oil and exploration company in Ikoyi, over failure to remit their taxes.
The Lagos enforcement team, led by Emeka Obiagwu, sealed up Briscoe Motors located on Fatai Atere Way, Mushin, over the company’s failure to remit N1.9 billion in taxes. The team ordered the staff out of their offices and locked up the building.
A top management staff of the company made efforts to pacify FIRS officials, saying the company had N150million to the FIRS. Obiagwu, however. maintained that until the company remits a minimum of 50% of the total amount owed in taxes, its premises will remain shut.
“My mandate is to get at least 50% percent of the total amount owed by the company, anything less than that will not be acceptable,” Obiagwu said.
At Sinopec Nigeria, the company which owes $15million, the enforcement team had no trouble shutting down the office premises and staff quarters
In Abuja, the FIRS sealed the offices of the Talevaras Group , owned by billionaire businessman, Igho Sanomi.
The Warrant of Distraint presented to the company by the leader of the enforcement team, Miss Ruth Mandeun, indicated that the international energy firm was in default of payment of N745,204,389.45 million tax arrears for five years.
The tax liability was made up of unpaid/unremitted Company Income Tax, Education Tax, Withholding Tax and Value Added Tax from 2010 to 2015. The company offices in Maitaima and Wuse 2 areas of Federal Capital Territory were sealed by the FIRS team.
Aliu Jimeta, the company’s Head of Finance, told the FIRS team that the company has an arrangement to defray its tax liabilities with the local office of FIRS and has already paid N500 million.
However, he could not produce evidence of the payment. Miss Madeun insisted on sealing off the company unless it was ready to defray the liabilities within an hour.
“Whatever arrangement you’ve made in the past does affect what we are doing here. Your liability as at when due is what is written here,” Miss Mandeun replied, flashing the Distraint Warrant.
After waiting for about two hours without the company making any attempt at payment, the FIRS team asked all the workers of the company to vacate the premises while they proceeded to seal off the building.
The team then proceeded to also seal the Wuse 2 office of the energy firm.
Jimeta, however, promised to look for funds to pay the outstanding tax liabilities.
The first company visited by the enforcement team, Hammoud and Saidi International, is located at Wuse Zone 5 Area of Abuja.
The company is owing N5.9 million tax liability for the 2012. Only one official of the company who simply identified himself as Tony was available to at the time of the enforcement’s team’s arrival.
He could not present any evidence of payment to the enforcement team. Consequently, the office of the company was shut. Also on Friday, the FIRS team in Aba, Abia State, shut down the premises of Dan Dollars Limited and D.E Okafor and Sons Limited for non-remittance of taxes.
It will be recalled that the FIRS team, on Thursday, shut the Imo Transport Company and Hotels & Tours Ltd in Owerri. Imo State.