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Kano seals bank’s branches over tax evasion

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Kano State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) has shut the regional office and four other branches of a new generation bank in the state over alleged tax invasion.

The exercise led by the inspection team of KIRS and security personnel, yesterday, witnessed forceful eviction of staff and customers at Murtala Muhammed Way, Wapa, Zaria Road, Bachirawa and France Road branches of the bank.

Addressing journalists shortly after the exercise, Legal Director of KIRS, Bashir Madobi, said government was compelled to seal the bank after securing an ex parte order to that effect.

Madobi alleged that the bank evaded tax to the tune of N1 billion in the last six years.

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He insisted that the financial institution turned down several subtle invitations to it for amicable settlement of the matter.

His words: “What made us to take this action is that from the initial stage, we demanded some documents from them, which they failed to give us. The first action we would take is to still demand these documents. It is based on them that we will come with the actual figure of the liability due to the KIRS.

“As revenue authority, KIRS is saddled with the responsibility of enforcing payment of taxes, which are due. One of the procedures we follow to enforce payment of due tax is legal process, which we did. So, we decided to file the case before the High Court on ex parte application.”

According to him, KIRS presented the case before the court with all the evidences, and the court certified that the tax was due. “Based on that, it granted us judgment to go and seal the property of the bank. This is why we went there today (Tuesday) to enforce the judgment and the payment of due tax as provided under the extant revenue laws.”

The legal director, however, disclosed that KIRS might consider unsealing the branches, only if the bank accepted to offset a minimum of 25 per cent of the liability.

The bank is also expected to pay 10 per cent of the total revenue as penalty required of tax defaulters.

Effort to speak with heads of the sealed branches on the development proved abortive.

The bankers, who declined to speak, insisted they were not authorised to interface with the media without prior notice from the headquarters in Lagos State.

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