N458m alleged tax evasion: Ondo Govt goes tough with MTN

 By OreOluwa Akintunde, Akure 

Ondo State Board of Internally Generated Revenue has gone tough with management of MTN telecommunication company in the state for alleged N458 million tax evasion.

 

Speaking with journalists in Akure, the Ondo state capital on some MTN sealed mast sites, Mr Akin Akinsehinwa, the Chairman of the board, said that they were sealed for alleged evasion of N458million tax.

Akinsehinwa expressed disappointment on the  MTN management in the state to carry out its activities after being aware of court’s order sealing the masts.

His words; “It is an unfortunate situation for a company that is supposed to be a socially responsible corporate organisation getting involved in such kind of criminal activity.

“The board sealed off the MTN offices and masts located across the state following a court order for the alleged failure of the telecommunication company to pay the 2010-2013 tax of N458 million.

He said that the board had approached the telecommunication outfit severally to pay its statutory taxes but it refused, saying it was an anomaly for a company of that status for its continued resistance to tax payment.

” It was found out that there are some aspects of tax where it is yet to cooperate with us, such as withholding tax on supply and on professional fees especially on its masts across the state.

“At a stage, its personnel started telling us some lies meant to cause tax evasion and we didn’t have a choice than to seek court order to seal off some masts,”he said.

According to him, the board has decided to unseal MTN office in Alagbaka due to the complaint that it is a franchise of the company, stating not to rescind its decision on its main offices and masts across the state until the company pays its debts.

He, however, vowed not to relent in his effort at ensuring the telecommunication company pays the said amount it owes the state government irrespective of any illegal effort its staff may involve to carry on with operation.

“Let them do what they like, we will still get the money and if  they have evidences that they have paid this money because nobody will double-tax anybody or organisation,they should show them,” he challenged.

Akinsehinwa added that the board longed to make the state a tax-friendly environment by ensuring that taxpayers were made to pay conveniently, a grace taken for granted by some individuals and organisations which called for enforcement of law.

He described tax evaders as unpatriotic and criminals while appealing to residents of the state to comply and pay their taxes duly so that the government could continue its developmental projects across the state. All efforts to speak with the state manager of the telecommunication company were futile as her whereabouts were not known on many visits made to her office.

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