A Kogi State High Court sitting in Lokoja has ordered the shutdown of all branches of First Bank Nigeria PLC in the State. It is understood that this shutdown follows the bank’s failure to liquidate its outstanding tax liabilities to the tune of NGN411 million to the State government despite several notices it was served.
Barr. Saidu Okino, Director of Legal Services at the KGIRS, explained to newsmen that the tax liabilities resulted from unremitted Withholding Tax (WHT) from First Bank’s mobile banking agents from 2015 to 2022. According to him, notices were served on First Bank in October 2021, February 2022, as well as August 2022, all to no avail. “We did not on our own roll out our machineries to go and seal”, the Director said.
In her ruling, the court’s presiding judge, Justice Rukkayat Ayoola, granted all the reliefs sought by KGIRS in its Motion ex parte, backed by an eight-paragraph affidavit, which was deposed accordingly. She said, “The Order for the defendant’s failure and or refusal to liquidate her debt to Kogi State government in the sum of N411,120,966.77 being the outstanding tax liabilities owed the Kogi State government for the years 2015 to 2020 is hereby granted.”