By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HAR-COURT— Rivers State Internal Revenue Service, RSIRS, has again sealed off the Port Harcourt head-office of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over alleged tax liabilities, disrupting activities at the commission, yesterday.
The state government had in April picketed the commission for allegedly owing her withholding tax estimated at over N600 million according to the RSIRS chairman, Adoage Norteh, but the tax body had backed down after a settlement understanding was reached between parties.
At the visit to shut the NDDC to business yesterday, Manson Endeboh, RIRS Director who led the enforcement team, said the tax agency had to seal the gates of the commission after it approached a court via an ex-parte order to so seal the office.
Meanwhile, NDDC, in a statement by Special Assistant on Media, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi on behalf of the Managing Director, Dr. Nsima Ekere, expressed dismay at the tax agency’s action.
“The commission is surprised at the development. We had already begun paying the revenue service the arrears in question. About two weeks ago, NDDC met with the tax enforcement team and started negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues.
“We understand that there is a court order, but it’s important for us to state that the commission, as a responsible corporate organisation, had begun to attend to all obligations as agreed.
“Last week, the commission paid the first tranche. They will receive the next tranche this week. This is a sign of goodwill and commitment on the side of the commission to meet these obligations.”
RSIRS’s Endeboh, who led the enforcement team, acknowledged that the commission had made some payments but that it came after they hadapproached the court for an ex-parte order to seal the office.