CRIRS Partners Security Agencies To Tackle Illegal Revenue Checkpoints On C’River Roads

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… Arraigns Five Alleged Defaulters

 

In a bid to rid the State of illegal revenue checkpoints and multiple taxation, the Cross River Internal Revenue Service has, through collaborative effort, organised a joint team comprised of operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Nigerian Army to bring perpetrators to book.

The clean up exercise which began on Thursday, 10th August, 2023, saw the team made some arrests including a 60-year-old Agar Liberty and four others who were immediately arraigned before the Magistrate Court in Ogoja Local Government Area.

Awum Philip ‘m’, 25 years, Ushie Stanley ‘m’, 30 years, Inyem Sunday ‘m’, 32 years and Mowung Keneth ‘m’, 27 years, were charged in Magistrate Count 1 with conspiracy to effect an unlawful purpose, contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C16 Vol. III, Laws of Cross River State, 2004.

Also in Count 2, they were charged with mounting illegal road blocks for purpose of collecting revenue contrary to Section 2(2) and punishable under Section 3(b) of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, Cap T2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to each of the charges.

While ruling on the application for the bail of the accused persons made by the defence counsel, the presiding Magistrate, His Worship A. Oji, stated that the offences are both bailable. However, in view of the proliferation of these illegal checkpoints on the state’s roads, he was minded to grant the bail on stringent conditions to act as deterrent to others planning to engage in such criminal activities.

He therefore granted each accused person bail in the sum of N500,000.00 with one surety in like sum who must be resident within jurisdiction. The sureties were to swear to an affidavit of means and must either be a Civil Servant on Grade Level 16, or the owner of a property covered by Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). The Registrar of the Court was mandated to verify the address of the sureties.

All the cases have been adjourned to the 22nd day of August, 2023, for further hearing.

Meanwhile two more suspects have been arrested by the taskforce and will be charged to court immediately for prosecution.

The Acting Chairman of CRIRS, Prince Edwin Okon, therefore called on all those mounting illegal road blocks from Bakassi to Obanliku to desist forthwith as all unauthorised revenue agents will be apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law.

Security agents have been instructed to apprehend all revenue agents not included in the list that have been shared by the State Internal Revenue Service.

Okon warned those along the border communities like Ishibori, Ogoja-Kastina Ala Highway, Ogoja Local Government Area, Ekpogrinya II, Ogoja-Ikom Highway and Mfum-Yahe-Abakaliki, Yala LGA of the State to desist from these acts as such have discouraged several would-be investors and businessman and women from doing business in the State.

He thanked the security agencies for their cooperation and promised to continue to collaborate with them in supporting the government of Senator Prince Bassey Otu in fighting the issues of multiple taxation in the State.

 

By: Achiane Adams, anipr is an information officer with the Ministry of Information, Cross River state