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Customers’ weigh closing accounts in banks’ sealed by A’Ibom over tax evasion

The frustration that greeted bank customers’ who were denied banking services in Ecobank and Union Bank in Akwa Ibom weekend following their seal up by the state Internal Revenue Service has forced them to start thinking of moving their accounts to others.

Some of them that poured out their anger following denial of services on Friday, said with such experience, they will begin to see how they would close their accounts at the affected and open accounts in other banks with clean tax records.

Mr. James Udoh, a trader who came to deposit his weekly sales ahead the long weekend which will extend to Tuesday due to public holidays for Sallah, told South-South Business Hilights Correspondent that “I am confused on where to keep this money till Wednesday as my bank (name with held) is under lock and keys due to issues it has with the state tax agency”.

“If I manage to come out of this security issue, immediately work resumes after Sallah, I will open account with other banks to avoid coming to bank and having no access to deposit cash,” Udoh disclosed.

Recall that on Friday, the state tax agency sealed off all the zonal offices of Ecobank and Union Bank in the state for allegedly evading state taxes after securing an exparte order from the Akwa Ibom State High Court, Uyo Division.

The Court order amongst other things, directed that the premises of the tax evading financial institutions be sealed off.

The sealing notice pasted on the gates of both banks read in parts: “Your business 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.”

The order further made it clear that “After 14 days of non-compliance, we have the mandate of the court to sell the property and recover the tax owed the state.”

Speaking to our correspondent weekend, the Executive Director, Enforcement and Recovery of the agency, Mr Leo Umanah, said the order affected not only the zonal offices but all branches of the affected banks.

He further revealed that over 200 business concerns had evaded state taxes running into billions of naira and the court order powered ongoing enforcement drive will do everything possible to recover all outstanding revenues due to the Akwa Ibom state government