The Itu Local Government Revenue Consultants in Akwa Ibom State have allegedly accused construction giants, Julius Berger Plc and Dangote Cement of failing to pay tenement rates and other levies for a period of two years.
On Wednesday, the revenue authorities halted operations at both businesses and parked vehicles in front of the major entrances to protest two years of unpaid bills.
After storming the Julius Berger at 12:30 p.m., the revenue officials drove a Hilux car and parked it across the main entrance, preventing any vehicles from entering the building for more than three hours. They then moved on to the nearby Dangote cement depot, where they carried out a similar action for about 30 minutes.
According to reports, while Julius Berger still owed the council over N81 million in tenements and levies, Dangote Cement Depot owed the council more than N53 million.
The manager of Eggheads Tax Practitioners, Mr. Dominic Williams’ consultants, expressed dismay that the enterprises had declined to contribute even a single penny to the local government coffers despite receiving demand notices.
He revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic led to the council’s wise decision to issue a remission in 2020, but he regretted that further pleas in 2021 and earlier in 2022 to force the corporations to pay their dues, including an invitation by the commissioner of police, were met with resistance.
He said, “We are here because of tax evasion that has been committed by Julius Berger and Dongote Cement. In 2020 because of COVID-19, the council in itS wisdom granted waiver, but in 2021, there was a demand notice that was served to them.
“Before the demand notice was served the council employed the services of an estate valuer, who was assisted with a surveyor and they went around the whole place for valuation and assessment.
“Thereafter, we gave them demand notices based on assessed amount and besides this there were other levies and fees that accrued to the council which was also assessed on them.
“We came here serverally, we served demand notices and followed up with a reminder and they gave deaf ears. Based on this the council chairman in his peaceful disposition reported the issue to the police commissioner who invited them for a brief but they refused to attend. Invitation was served twice but none of them turned up.
“It is based on this that we decided to come here today, to tell the whole world that Julius Berger and Dangote Cement Depot, have been evading taxes and levies in Akwa Ibom state.”
Reports has it that only the security officials, who concealed their identities because they were not authorized to talk, came out to confront the revenue officials.
The development led to a fight between the security guards and the officials as they hurled vulgar remarks at one another.
However, at the Dangote Depot, the Inventory Officer, who went by the name Abubakar Sani, begged the revenue officials to hold off until the depot manager returned from an official engagement. He added that he was unaware of the claim that they had been visiting the company but had received no response.