Contrary to the ruling of a federal high court in Abuja, the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue has said that the tax clearance certificate issued to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu was not fake or fraudulent. It said that as an employee of the state government before he resigned to run for office, the governor’s taxes were deducted at source.
A federal high court in Abuja presided over by Justice Okon Abang had ruled that Ikpeazu was not eligible to contest for the Abia polls because of irregularities in his tax clearance certificate. It ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Uche Ogah who was the runner up in the Abia PDP primary and also ordered the Abia chief judge to swear Ogah in as governor. While INEC has obeyed the ruling, the chief judge is yet to swear in Ogah.
In a statement entitled “Sacred facts/true position by the Abia State Internal Revenue Service”, chairman of the Abia tax board, Udochukwu Ogbonna, said that Ikpeazu’s “taxes for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 were PAYE taxes deducted at source from his 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.”
Ogbonna said that the reason the governor’s tax receipts for the three years in question had the same date written was because it was the date he applied to be issued with the receipts, “because that was when he needed them.”
“In the same vein the dates on the tax receipts did not suggest that they were written out on those days. The date on the receipts only indicates the last day of the last month of the year, when the PAYE tax payer became entitled to the receipts, as the receipts could not have carried a date earlier or later than the 31st December of the relevant tax year,” the statement noted.
The internal revenue board said that the governor has no part to play in the deduction and remittance of his PAYE as that action 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,” it concluded.