THE Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) has said it is battling persons disguising as municipal officials to extort money from residents and business owners.
Chief Revenue Officer of AMAC Danlami Awaje said this on Wednesday while reacting to a report by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR) on the negative impacts of activities of fraudulent tax collectors on businesses in Abuja.
Speaking on the anti-corruption radio programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG), Public Conscience on Radio, Awaje said taxation fraud in the AMAC had been a persistent occurrence.
He stated that AMAC was making efforts to apprehend individuals defrauding residents of the city while masquerading as AMAC officials.
“AMAC has set up a task force that is moving around, checking and looking out for individuals who are not AMAC staff but are extorting and collecting revenue from business owners and residents.
“Following outcry from the public, the council also disbanded a group set up to bring sanity on the roads but were now harassing and extorting money from car owners on the road,” he said.
He warned residents against paying taxes into personal bank accounts as taxpayers were expected by the council to make payment through a REMITA platform.
“We have REMITA platform where we ask all our taxpayers to pay into, generate RRR, pay through REMITA, come with the evidence of payment and obtain official receipt from our office,” he said.
Senior Lecturer of Law at Base University Sam Amadi had earlier said Abuja residents ran the risk of paying multiple taxes as taxes applicable to federal workers sometimes also applied to people working under the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He also said the FCT might encounter some problems navigating between federal taxes and AMAC taxes.
“Think in terms of Julius Berger. You will be shocked that maybe it might not be paying anything to the area council but might be paying directly to the Federal Government and because there is no capacity to compel them the council will leave them and go to the small or micro-enterprises and overtax them.”
Investigations by The ICIR had revealed that thousands of business owners were on the verge of financial failure due to illegal and arbitrary taxes demanded by officials of AMAC.
According to the report, business owners within AMAC were constantly being harassed for illegal taxes by officials of the council.