The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service has taken decisive action by closing down three banks due to their alleged failure to remit outstanding tax obligations amounting to N228.6 million to the state government.
This bank closure occurred on Thursday as part of an operation conducted by the board’s Enforcement and Recovery Department, following the issuance of a Notice of Distrain by the Akwa Ibom State High Court, Eket Judicial Division.
The banks affected by this action include two branches of Keystone Bank located at Abak Road and Ikot Ekpene Road in Uyo, and Heritage Bank situated on Aka Road, Uyo.
Mr. Leo Umana, the Executive Director for Enforcement and Recovery at the board, disclosed that Heritage Bank had not fulfilled its tax liabilities of N100,270,910 to the state, while Keystone Bank’s tax arrears amounted to N128,413,882.
Umana explained that the board had previously issued notices and attempted to resolve the matter through negotiations with the banks, leading to the decision to take this action.
He further clarified that since the banks had failed to remit the taxes owed to the state, despite having been provided ample time, the board had no choice but to secure an exparte order to recover the revenue.
Umana noted that, under the law, the banks served with the Notice of Distrain have 14 days to negotiate with AKIRS and lift the order. He added, “If, after 14 days, they do not comply, we have the court’s authority to sell the property and recover the unpaid taxes for the state.”
In the ongoing enforcement effort, the revenue board is determined to recover the state government’s revenue, thereby contributing to the achievement of the government’s ARISE agenda.
The Warrant of Distrain, previously issued by the High Court of Akwa Ibom in the Eket Judicial Division and signed by Justice Effiong Effiong, orders that access to the bank premises and facilities be restricted. It states, “A Warrant of Distrain is hereby issued upon any land, premises, or place of business in respect of which the Respondent is the owner or occupier at 39 Abak Road, Uyo Akwa Ibom State, to settle the outstanding tax liability of N128,413,882.20 established against the respondent.
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