The Director Legal and Enforcement, Kogi State Internal Revenue Service, Jamil Isa has given insights into why MTN, a major telecom provider in the state was shut down.
The users of MTN yesterday were faced with the absence of networks on their phones, but the legal enforcement has this to say, “This morning, the KIRS resumed the distrain of MTN business facilities across the state.
“You will recall that this exercise commenced in November last year. We were in MTN sites for a number of weeks.
“Upon the order of the High Court of Justice of Kogi State granted on the account of the fact that MTN in Kogi State has failed in her responsibility and legal obligation to discharge her tax obligations to the state.
“The order of the High Court of Justice in Kogi State was granted on the 3rd of October, 2018. MTN did not take any step to redeem those tax obligations which spread across social services contribution levy, employee development levy as well as annual right of way fee.
“His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, needed the intervention of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) when it came to intervene and directed the KIRS to unseal the sites and commence immediate negotiation with MTN as an organisation.
“This opportunity was abused by the MTN. MTN had engaged in various moves to subvert the proper order of Kogi State High Court by employing very unacceptable means to evade enforcement.
“They sought the intervention of the NCC asked KIRS to vacate those sites last year despite of the fact that the distrain was carried out on the order of the court.
“We were surprised again when we received a letter from the NCC seeking to query the distrain activities of the KIRS which was obtained upon an order from court. This came to us as a big surprise because outside the purview of the functions of the NCC.
“Beyond this, when MTN sought to respond in respect of this liability of N120 million, it decided to insult the state government by offering N250,000 as full and final settlement that obligation. We received the cheque yesterday and we consider that as a serious insult on the people and government of Kogi State. It was a clear statement on the part of MTN that they have resolved not to be law-abiding member of Kogi State. They have demonstrated that they have the capacity to influence other authorities and agencies of government to prevail on Kogi government not to carry out its proper duties under the law. This we are set to reverse because the state government has condoned this for a very long time in the spirit of providing conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
“At this point, we want to say clearly on behalf of the government that since MTN has legal department, it should know what to do if it is dissatisfied with the action of KIRS. The era of using other authorities of government to muzzle the government of Kogi State and its people and evade statutory responsibilities is over.”