Home BUSINESS BANKING & FINANCE Confusion As Inland Revenue Shuts Abuja NICON Luxury Hotel Over Tax Evasion

Confusion As Inland Revenue Shuts Abuja NICON Luxury Hotel Over Tax Evasion

NICON Luxury HotelFederal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has sealed off the NICON Luxury Hotel and NICON Insurance over unpaid tax. The companies are owned by a billionaire, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim.

The team, led by Miss Ruth Mandeun gave the management of the companies over one hour to do the payment before executing the distrait warrant on them.

The first point of call for the team was the popular NICON LUXURY Hotel located in Garki, Area 11, Tafawa Balewa Way, Abuja. The hotel, according to a Warrant of Distrait used by the FIRS team to seal it off, was owing about N392, 623,765.00 in unpaid tax liabilities.

The amount was made up of unpaid/unremitted liabilities of the hotel in Company Income Tax, Education Tax, Withholding Tax and Value Added Tax between 2009 and 2013.

The management of the hotel, led by Mrs. Ogunlusi Abimbola initially insisted that the company does not owe government any such tax liability and put the tax arrears of the company at N24 million for which he said the company has paid the sum of N6 million.

But when the enforcement team insisted, she agreed that the Hotel is aware of the tax liability, but is disputing it. She claimed that a tax consultant to the company had written the Chairman of FIRS to complain about the liability and that the hotel is already discussing with the Service on how to resolve the dispute.

When she couldn’t produce copies of her correspondence with the FIRS when she was asked to, the leader of the team insisted that nothing else than payment of the full tax liabilities will stop the execution of the Distrait Warrant.

The enforcement team then proceeded to seal and close down operations of the hotel. This even as an attempt by the team to force the hotel to close business through the shutting down of its generator failed as the technician in charge disappeared from the premises.

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The hotel was ordered to discharge its guests and some of the guests who learnt of the development quickly checked out. The sealing of the hotel by the FIRS team led to the closure of the other offices and three bank’s branches located within its premises.

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) holding a stakeholders’ meeting in one of the halls in the hotels were forced to park their vehicles outside the premises as the enforcement team locked up the gates while workers of the hotel instantly closed for the day.

The team left a part of the entrance to the hotel opened for guests who may not be in when the warrant was executed and may return to pick their properties later.

Miss Mandeun warned the security officer that no business should be allowed to take place inside the premises until the payment of the tax liability.

The next point of call for the team was NICON Insurance which according to the Distrait Warrant was owing N182,685, 036 million in unremitted Withholding Tax and VAT from 2008 to 2012.

The team sealed off the 3rd, 4th and 9th floor of the building being used by NICON insurance.

This followed appeals by other occupants, including Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation that the sin of the owner should not be visited on the other occupants. [myad]

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