By Onozure Dania
Justice Adedayo Akintoye of a Lagos High Lagos sitting at Igbosere yesterday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Nollywood actress and producer, Monalisa Chinda Coker, over a tax evasion charge.
Akintoye further renewed the order for Coker’s arrest for allegedly failing to appear in court for trial, since 2017.
She adjourned further proceedings im the matter till June 5.
When the matter was called yesterday, neither the actress nor her lawyer was in court.
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The Lagos State prosecuting counsel, Mr Babatunde Sumonu, told the judge that the bench warrant had yet to be effected.
“The bench warrant is to continue,” Justice Akintoye held.
The judge had made the order for Coker’s arrest on January 21, following an application by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
The state alleged that Coker repeatedly failed to honour a court summons.
The application for her arrest was sequel to a two-count charge accusing Coker of failure to file annual tax returns and pay income tax in respect of her company, Monalisa Code Productions, for six years.
Monalisa Code Productions carries on its business from Lekki in Lagos.
On January 21, the prosecution counsel, Y. A. Pitan, had told Justice Akintoye that Coker had not appeared in court since 2017, when the charge was filed against her.
“The defendant has been served with hearing notice. The proof of service is in the court’s file,” Pitan stated, while making an application for the bench warrant.
While granting the application, Justice Akintoye adjourned further proceedings till February 2.
But on February 2, the court heard that the bench warrant had yet to be effected.
It ordered that the warrant should continue and adjourned till yesterday.
Count one of the charge, marked LD/5712c/2017, reads in part:
“Failure to furnish and file annual tax returns for the purpose of personal income taxation with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) contrary to Section 94(1) of the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 (as amended).”
The particulars of the count stated that Coker “of Monalisa Code Productions, being a taxable person in Nigeria and carrying on business at Lekki failed to furnish and file tax returns on your personal income for the years 2011 to 2016.”
Count two reads: “Failure to pay income tax contrary to Section 56 of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law of 2006.”