Akwa Ibom seals three banks over N228.6m debt

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno

The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS) has sealed Keystone Bank at Abak Road and Heritage Bank along Ikot Ekpene Road over their inability to pay their arrears of tax liabilities, which amounted to over N228 million.

Speaking shortly after the exercise on Thursday, the Executive Director in charge of enforcement and debt recovery activities of the revenue board, Leo Umana, said the banks were sealed after AKIRS obtained an ex parte order of notice to distrain from the Uyo Division of the Akwa Ibom State High Court.

He said Heritage Bank failed to pay N100,270,910 while Keystone Bank refused to pay N128,413,882 owed to the state government as tax liabilities.

“The court order was signed by Justice Effiong Effiong who ordered that access to the bank premises and its facilities be restricted. The two banks have not been remitting actual tax from employee salaries as well as other taxes meant for the state,” he said.

Umana said the banks were given warning notices but failed to comply after several months.

He explained that AKIRS had exhausted reconciliation and negotiation opportunities with the financial organisations before resorting to court action.

According to him, under the law, the banks that are served the notice to distrain have 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.