18 July 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Rivers State Internal Revenue Service, RIRS, on Tuesday shut down the head office of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in Port Harcourt for the second time, over unpaid taxes.
Recall that the state revenue agency had in April temporarily shut the main entrance to the corporate headquarters of the Commission over unpaid taxes amounting to N1.8 billion.
RIRS Executive Chairman, Mr. Adoage Norteh, disclosed that the unpaid taxes dated back to 2013, adding that the commission did not respond to any entreaty from the revenue service for the amount owed to be paid.
Corroborating, RIRS Director who led the enforcement team on Tuesday, Mr. Manson Endeboh, said that the tax agency sealed the gates of the NDDC headquarters for owing the Rivers State government withholding tax.
Endeboh explained that RIRS has obtained an exparte order from the court to seal off the Commission’s headquarters.
Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Development Commission has expressed dismay over the disruption of activities at its headquarters in Port Harcourt by officials of the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service.
Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Nsima Ekere, said the Commission was surprised by the development, because the Commission had already begun paying RIRS the arrears under question.
Ekere, speaking through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, expressed dismay at the actions of the RIRS officials, noting that blocking the premises of the Commission was an unnecessary embarrassment and does not match the Commission’s goodwill.
According to him, “About two weeks ago, the Commission met with the tax enforcement team and started negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues. We understand that there is a court order. But it’s important for us to state that the Commission, as a responsible corporate organisation, had begun to attend to all obligations as agreed.
“Last week, the Commission paid the first tranche. They will receive the next tranche this week. This is a sign of goodwill and commitment on the side of the Commission to meet these obligations.
“It is very surprising that even though we have begun paying these arrears dating back to 2013, which the current board inherited, we still have to deal with this little impasse. And mind you, over the past two years, the current Board has paid all the Commission’s tax obligations as at when due,” the NDDC boss said.