Kogi State residents who have accounts with First Bank Nigeria PLC expressed worries over the shutting down of the bank’s branches operating in the state.
Reports obtained by Naija News on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, revealed that the State Government has sealed off the apex bank branches in the state over alleged tax evasion. The government’s action according to the report was carried out following an order by a Kogi High Court sitting in Lokoja, the state capital. The bank was said to have failed to liquidate its outstanding tax liabilities to the tune of N411.12 million to the Kogi State Government. After several follow-ups, the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS) decided to shut down the bank branches on Monday after obtaining the court order, Naija News understands. Explaining the situation in a brief interaction with newsmen, Director, Legal Services of the KGIRS, Bar. Saidu Okino who spoke from his office said the amount represents outstanding withholding tax from the bank’s mobile banking agents from 2015 to 2022. He said that the action of the board was as a result of the refusal of the bank to liquidate the liability despite several demand notices to that effect. According to him, approaching the court was its last resort after all other measures to make the bank pay up proved abortive. He said: ”Before we went to court, there was a Demand Notice to that effect dated 12th day of October 2021, and signed by the then acting chairman, Abubakar Yusuf. “We made several attempts. We sent them a notice of the intention of the service to take a warrant of distraining so that we can do whatever is needful, on the 25th February 2022, but we were ignored. “On the 25th of August, 2022, Notice of Refusal to amend their liability was served on them. We did not on our own roll out our machineries to go and seal,” Daily Post quoted the official as saying. As of the reporting time, no official of the bank has yet issued a statement on the development, Naija News reports. Some of the bank’s customers who interacted with newsmen at a branch around Ganaja junction, Lokoja, expressed concern that they could not transact business with the bank beyond withdrawing money via ATM. They stressed the need for the two parties to reach amicable resolution for the bank to resume business.
This article was originally published on Naija News