Thursday, May 12, 2016 6:31 pm
It was a bad day for popular billionaire businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim on Thursday as an enforcement team of Federal Inland Revenue Service, IFRS sealed off his two companies.
The team, led by Miss Ruth Mandeun gave the management of the companies over one hour to do the payment before executing the distraint warrant on them.
The first point of call for the team led by was the popular NICON LUXURY Hotel located in Garki, Area 11, Tafawa Balewa Way, Abuja. The Hotel, according to a Warrant of Distraint used by the FIRS team to seal it off was owing about N392, 623,765.00 in unpaid tax liabilities.
The amount was made up of unpaid/unremitted liabilities of the Hotel in Company Income Tax, Education Tax, Withholding Tax and Value Added Tax between year 2009 to 2013.
But sealing off the Hotel was not easy as the management led by Mrs. Ogunlusi Abimbola initially insisted that that the company is not owing government any such tax liability. Rather, she put the tax arrears of the company at N24 million for which he said the company has paid the sum of N6 million.
But when the enforcement team insisted, she agreed that the Hotel is aware of the tax liability, but is disputing it. T
She claimed that a tax consultant to company had written the Chairman of FIRS to complain about the liability and that the hotel is already discussing with the Service on how to resolve the dispute. Though she put a call through to the consultant, the leader to the FIRS team refused to speak to him on the phone.
But when she couldn’t produce copies of her correspondence with the FIRS when she was asked, the leader of the team insisted that nothing else other than payment of the full tax liabilities will stop the execution of the Distraint Warrant.
But the hotel insisted that it did not have such funds to pay.
Thus, the enforcement team has no choice but to proceed with the sealing and closing down of operations at the hotel, an action that took over six hours due to resistance by the management.
An attempt by the team to force the hotel to close business through the shutting down of its generator failed as the technician in charge of disappeared from the premises of the facility.
The Hotel was ordered to discharge its guests and some of the guests who learnt of the development quickly checked out.
The sealing off of the hotel by the FIRS team led closure of the other offices and three bank’s branches located within its premises.
Members of People Democratic Party holding a stake holders’ meeting in one of the halls in the hotels were forced to park the vehicles outside the premises as the enforcement team locked up the gates while workers of the hotel instantly closed for the day.
The team left a part of the entrance to the hotel opened for guests who may not be in when the warrant was executed and may return to pick their properties later.
But Miss Mandeun warned the security officer that no business should be allowed to take place inside the premises until the payment of the tax liability.
The next point of call for the team was NICON Insurance which according to the Distraint Warrant was owing N182,685, 036 million in unremitted Withholding Tax and VAT from 2008 to 2012.
The team sealed off the 3rd, 4th and 9th floor of the building being used by NICON insurance.
This followed appeals by other occupants including Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation that the sin of the other occupant should not be visited on the other occupants.