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FIRS increases speed, seals more firms in Warri, Lagos, Ilorin

Shortly after succeeding in sealing a cement and oil servicing firm in Port Harcourt Monday, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), yesterday, ramped up its tax enforcement drive, shutting down the premises of companies with tax liabilities in Warri, Lagos and Ilorin.

In what experts see as a national campaign to drive seamless tax remittances by corporate bodies, FIRS said the shutting down of tax defaulting firms will now be a continuos process until sanity is restored.

In Warri, Delta State, the enforcement team visited two companies including JAD Construction, where the FIRS team evicted all the staff before sealing off the premises for unremitted taxes in excess of N400million, accumulated from 2013.

“These defaulters had the option of clearing the arrears to avoid being sealed even at the point we came in. Now they still have a duty to settle the debt to get unsealed. If they fail to settle the arrears or attempt to operate under FIRS lock and key, we have other measures of enforcement against them,” FIRS enforcement team leader, Mrs. Ruth Mandeun, said.

At Bredero Pipelines Services at Sedco Road, Uvwie Local Government Area, the team met a team of policemen at the premises who claimed the company has been shut for more than three years following a court injunction restraining its workers or management from the premises pending determination of court case between management and staff. The company has an aggregate debt tax of N178,638,649.90

In Lagos, the enforcement team, led by Chinazor Edeh, visited Dee Jones Petroleum and Gas Limited at Beachland Estate, Apapa, said to owe N31million.

The enforcement team in Ilorin, Kwara State, visited Kwara Hotels, where the new management, Integrated Services Limited, explained that it was neither aware that the previous management had a N10.5million tax liability nor of correspondences between the hotel and the FIRS. The argument ended when a call was put to the FIRS headquarters, which confirmed the existence of the hotel’s tax liabilities. The new management then signed an undertaking to reach the previous management and to revert to the FIRS within 30 days.

Also in Ilorin, the FIRS team visited Henry George Company Limited, which owes a little over N2million. But the company escaped being shut having paid a part of money on Monday.

FIRS said as more companies are shut, others in the habit of tax evasion will begin to do the needful and this will result in deepening the coffers of the federal government.