The Abia State Internal Revenue Service, ASIRS, has clarified that the tax certificate it issued the Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, during his screening for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s governorship primary election in December 2012, was not fake.
Udochukwu Ogbonna, the Executive Chairman of the ASIRS, released a statement on Monday, insisting that the tax certificate issued to Ikpeazu was genuine.
He also added that neither the court nor the plaintiff, Ogah, sought the opinion of the Revenue Board as witness to state the authenticity or otherwise of the tax papers in issue, during the pendency of the subject suit.
Ogbonna in the statement maintained that “the taxes for the years 2011,2012 and 2013 were PAYE taxes deducted at source from his (Ikpeazu’s) personal emoluments by his employers (Abia State Passengers’ Integrated Manifest Scheme and Abia State Environmental Sanitation Authority respectively) and remitted to the service in the relevant tax years,
“That the dates on the tax receipts of the relevant years (2011, 2012 and 2013) did not suggest that they were paid on those dates, but only reflected the date he applied to be issued with the receipts, because that was when he needed them.”
Ogbonna further stated that since the governor’s taxes were deducted by his employers and remitted to the service within the relevant years, it cannot be said to have been paid on the same day, as they were paid as at when due.
“In fact the issue of payment as at when due does not apply to PAYE taxes because the tax payer has no part to play in the deduction and remittance of his PAYE as the same is done by his employer. Where there is failure to deduct and remit PAYE taxes, it is the employer and not the tax payer that is liable.”
The revenue board affirmed that both the Tax Clearance Certificate and the tax receipts referred to in the judgment were the documents of the Abia State Internal Revenue Service as the authority empowered by law to collect tax in the state.
“Finally, we state emphatically for the records and for the attention of the general public that we were never invited (subpoenaed) by the court or the plaintiff, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah during the pendency of the subject suit that led to the judgment in Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s tax matter to state the authenticity or otherwise of the tax papers in issue,” Ogbonna added.
It would be recalled that Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja High Court, on Monday, June 27, sacked Ikpeazu from office over alleged false tax certificate presented before he ran for the April 11, 2015 governorship election and ordered the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to Uche Ogah, who came second in the primary of the PDP.
Justice Abang had also ruled that the Chief Judge of Abia State, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, do immediately administer the oath of office and swear-in Ogah.