The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS) on Monday sealed the two branches of Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank) in Uyo, over unpaid taxes totalling N184 million.
Mr Leo Umanah, Executive Director, Enforcement and Recovery, AKIRS, who led the team in the operation, told journalists in Uyo that the two branches were on Udo Udoma Street and Abak Road.
He noted that the government agency had obtained an ex-parte order from Justice Imeh Umanah of the state High Court in Uyo, restricting access to the premises of the bank and its facilities.
He recalled that the two branches were given warning notices on Feb. 4 that they had not been remitting the actual tax, deducted from their staff salaries, and other relevant taxes due the state.
He also said that GTBank was informed that by so doing, it had failed to comply with the provisions of relevant tax laws.
According to the official, the bank had failed to comply with the warning after 10 months.
The director said that the bank had taken AKIRS to court in Uyo, Port Harcourt and Benin City over the tax remittance issue but the cases were struck out in favour of the revenue agency.
Umanah said that the agency had exhausted reconciliation and negotiation opportunities with the bank.
He said that AKIRS was left with no other choice than to get ex-parte order to recover the government revenue.
He added that the bank was served the notice of distraint and under the law, they had 14 days to negotiate with AKIRS and vacate the order.
“If after 14 days, they do not comply, we have the mandate of the court to sell the property and recover the tax owed the state,” he said.
Umanah observed that many business outfits in the state had been withholding government taxes, running into billions of naira.
He stressed that in the ongoing enforcement drive, AKIRS was poised to recover the state government’s revenue to enable it to realise its development agenda.