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Tax Default: Soldiers Bar FIRS Task Force from Sealing Off Hill Station Hotel, Jos

Agabus Pwanagba, Jos

Men of the Military Special Task Force (STF) responsible for the maintenance of peace in Plateau State and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), task force officials, Wednesday clashed over an attempt to seal off the Hill Station Hotel, in Jos, the State capital, by the tax enforcement team.

AFRICAN EXAMINER gathered that armed STF men, whose senior officers live in the hotel, as well as use it as parking lot threatened to open fire on the FIRS team, while they tore off the sealed notice on the gates of the hotel. It was also gathered that STF headquarters is adjacent the Hotel.

The confrontation occurred in a statewide clampdown operations on tax defaulting firms in the State by the FIRS task force.

Our Correspondent reported that STF insisted that the FIRS Task force should handover the keys of the hotel, while the FIRS, warned that the hotel should not be opened for business but remained under lock until the outstanding tax paid and approval to re – open given.

A staff of the Hotel, who spoke with reporters, but did not want his name mentioned in print, revealed that the management of the hospitality firm was owing 17 months salaries.

The clash disrupted a Workshop of the State’s Peace Practitioners holding inside the hotel, as guests immediately left the premises when the heated confrontation began.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Director, Tax Controller, Udo Monday, said the exercise was a nationwide enforcement, insisting that defaulting companies must comply.

He revealed that 16 organizations in the State defaulted in payments of over N110 million.”Our counterpart in Sokoto sealed off 20 companies Monday” he said, stating that the Federal government needed money to carry out its mandate.

Other companies sealed included Lamonde Hotel, Magnum Night club, Goodlife Restaurant, Frenzy Suite & Lounge, Ken Palace, Anderson Drilling Nigeria Limited, a borehole and water engineering company and Dadinkowa Micro Finance Bank.

The Micro Finance Bank was allegedly owing more than N20 million. Lamonde Hotel owed about N8.5 million. All the hotels sealed were in Jos North LGA.

A senior staff of the Lamonde hotel said the management of the hotel paid N1.5 million into the account of the FIRS Tuesday, but the Task force insisted on locking up the hotel.

Officials of the FIRS insisted that the payment must be more than half of the amount owed before the hotel would be reopened.”N1.5 million is too meager considering what Lamonde is owing”.

However, the Managing Director, Dadinkowa Micro Finance Bank, Jeremiah Jatau, who addressed journalists through the window shortly after the bank was sealed off by the Task Force, insisted the bank had not defaulted.

According to him, the bank had pending issues with the FIRS but not payment of taxes.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that a security man at the Anderson Drilling Nigeria Limited had not be paid his N7, 000 monthly salary for 14 years due to bad business.

An executive of the company explained that he could not afford the N300, 000 taxes it was billed.

FIRS Task force officials said the affected organizations would be sued at the Tax Appeal Tribunal if they reopened their businesses without adequate permission.


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