Guaranty Trust Bank
Apprehension was written all over the faces of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) customers following the sealing of about five branches of the bank by the Kano State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) on Tuesday.
The branches it was gathered were sealed for tax evasion leaving customers stranded.
The closure is in line with an order of expatriate issued by Kano State High Court over the bank’s failure to audit and pay its taxes between 2014 and 2019, accruing to N1,005,687,755.55.
The affected branches include that of Murtala Muhammad Way, Wapa, Zaria Road, Bachirawa and France Road.
Briefing newsmen during the exercise, the Legal Director of the agency, Barrister Bashir Yusuf Madobi, said it is the bank’s refusal to pay the accrued amount or release some of their audit reports that forced the agency to take the action.
He said, “What irritated us to take this action is that right from the initial stage, we have demanded for some documents from them which they failed to honour us and give us the document. But, still the first action we will take is to still request for this documents. It is based on them that we will come with actual figure of the liability due to the KIRS.
“As revenue authority, KIRS is saddled with the responsibility of enforcing payment of taxes which are due.
“One of the procedures we follow in order to enforce payment of due tax is through institution a court case before a competent court. So, we decided to file this case before the State High Court on ex-parte application.
“So, we the KIRS as plaintiff after furnishing the court with all the evidences, the court satisfied that the tax is due, and based on that, it granted us judgement that we should go and seal the property of GT Bank.
“This is why we went there today to enforce the judgment and enforce the payment of due tax as provided under the extant revenue laws.
“The money is over N1bn. The next line of action is we expect them to come so that we sit down and sort it out if they are willing to do so,” Barrister Madobi.
On the condition for reopening the sealed branches, KIRS said the bank must pay a minimum of 25 percent of the liability and provide the earlier requested documents.
The bank is also expected to pay 10 percent of the total revenue amount as provided for any tax payer who refuses to pay hi tax until the matter gets to court.
However, effort to hear from the affected bank branches has proved abortive as all their Managers have decided to keep mum, saying that they are not authorised to speak on the bank’s behalf.
Daily Trust reports that hundreds of customers who trooped to the affected branches for transactions earlier in the morning had to later leave following the seal.