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Bayelsa Board Of Internal Revenue Seals Off Chinese Company Over Tax Default

🔥Posted by: On: June 22, 2017. In: News

The Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue, on Wednesday, sealed off a Chinese company, Hilong Oil Services and Engineering Company Limited, over alleged tax default of N109.5m.

It was alleged that the company, which carries out services for oil companies, including Shell Petroleum Development Company, had allegedly been owing the state government for five years.

The enforcement team of BIR, with full complement of security operatives, drawn from the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, stormed the premises of HOSEC located at Elebele, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, about 9am, carried out the sealing.

However, the enforcement team was not immediately allowed to gain entry into the premises by soldiers guarding the company until an unnamed official of the company came, after some disagreement, allowed them to carry out their operation.

In an interview after the operation, the Director of Compliance, BIR, Mr. Robert Lokoson, said the team was at HOSEC to recover a tax debt of N109.5m owed the state government by the company since 2013.

Lokoson said the operation was in pursuant of Section 104 of Personal Income Tax (Amendment) 2011 and an ex parte order granted by the High Court of Bayelsa State, in the Sagbama Judicial Division, Holden at Yenagoa.

He stated, ”This operation is part of Bayelsa State Government’s efforts in improving Internally Generated Revenue in the state and pursuant to Section 104 of Personal Income Tax 2011.

”The Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue, having obtained the necessary court orders, hereby pasted the Warrant of Distrain on the property of Hilong Oil Services and Engineering Company Limited for a tax debt of N109.5m owed the Bayelsa State Government.

”The debt has been on since 2013 and we have written series of letter to them to pay but no response from them. A few weeks back, we came here, though not with court orders, with the intention of having them to see reasons to come and comply, but no response. So, we have to take this last resort of getting court orders.

”Tax matter has laws binding it and as a law-abiding board, we have gone through the necessary processes to arrive at carrying out the sealing.”

On the next step, Lokoson said after 14 days, if no response came from the company, the board would go back to court and institute a case against them.

He said the sealing of the company was to show the seriousness of the state government in recovering the money, stressing that the government needed money in financing its projects.

He added, ”If a company is owing this much, we have to do everything possible to recover this money. It will go for one project or the other.

”This action will send a strong message to other companies that we are not joking. Companies have been taking things for granted in this state. Now, we want to enforce the law to the letter so that those other companies that are not complying will see reasons to comply.”

It was discovered that management staff of the company were not available as of the time of carrying out the operation.
However, a handful of workers were seen loitering around and were not willing to come forth to identify themselves.

The officer, who gave the permission to the enforcement team to go ahead with the sealing off the property of the company, declined to make any comment, saying he could not speak for the organisation.

The board’s Warrant of Distrain was pasted on offices of HOSEC made up mainly of portable cabins.

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