FIRS arraigns companies, three others over tax evasion, assault on staff

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) yesterday arraigned Fortless Global Concept Limited and Everyday Wine Shop and their representatives at the Federal High Court, Abuja on alleged tax evasion, obstruction of official duty and attack on staff of the FIRS on duty, among other charges.

In the Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/48/2019, between the Federal Government of Nigeria (Complainant) and Fortless Global Concept Limited (also known as Fortless Supermarket and Stores and Chukwu Ejike (Defendants), the FIRS preferred a six-count charge bordering on tax evasion and assault on FIRS staff on duty on the defendants pursuant to Section 174 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Section 47 of the FIRS Establishment Act No: 13, 2007.

Similarly, in the Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/47/2019, between the Federal Government of Nigeria (Complainant) and Everyday Wine Shop (also known as Everyday Wine Shop &Bar), Mbah Sunday and Epkeha Peter (Defendants), the FIRS preferred a six-count charge also bordering on tax evasion and assault on FIRS staff on duty on the defendants pursuant to Section 174 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Section 47 of the FIRS Establishment Act No: 13, 2007.

Representatives of the two companies who are currently on administrative bail: Mbah Sunday and Epkeha Peter for Everyday Wine Shop and Chukwu Ejike for Fortless Global Concept pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court 10, Abuja granted the application of FIRS prosecution counsel, James Binang and scheduled March 21, 2019 for the FIRS to prove the charges against the defendants.

Following undertaking by the counsels of the defendants, the court also granted that the counsels should to bring the defendants to court on March 21, 2019 for further hearing.

Binang said FIRS took the measures to prosecute the defendants to serve as a deterrent for other people who would want to evade taxes or tow the ignoble route of preventing tax officers from carrying out their official responsibilities.

“We cannot allow this to continue. Our staff were assaulted and their dresses torn. The FIRS wants to prosecute these cases to their logical conclusions to send signals to other people who would want to commit similar offences”, Binang told the Court.

Charges against Everyday Wine Shop are similar with the charges against Fortless Global Concept Limited.

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