- Says reason untrue, misleading as firm not in default of tax payment
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Pinnacle Communications Limited on Wednesday took a swipe at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the agency’s recent invasion of its office in Abuja.
The firm, in a statement issued by its lawyer, Mr Abayomi Oyelola, also dismissed as untrue the reason given by the ICPC for the invasion of its office, describing the reason as face saving.
The firm had, in a press conference on January 21, urged the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Malami Abubakar (SAN), to investigate the operatives of ICPC who unlawfully made attempt to break into the firm’s office in Asokoro area of the FCT without any warrant and order of court.
However, the anti-graft agency in reacting to the invasion, said its operatives were at the Pinnacle’s office in lieu of a request by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to investigate alleged tax evasion by Pinnacle.
The ICPC, in a letter signed by its Operations Director, Akeem Lawal, said: “Pinnacle Communications Limited should note that our operatives did not set out to look for the company, but incidentally arrived at the two buildings as part of investigate efforts in identifying and locating forty-four (44) properties, buildings and plots of land forwarded for investigation by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for default to pay taxes after ownership of the properties had been denied upon the efforts of FIRS to make the owners pay the relevant taxes due to buoy up government revenue.”
Reacting, Oyelola described the position of ICPC as grossly inaccurate, misleading and aimed at hurting Pinnacle’s impeccable image known to all and sundry.
“ICPC in its responses, admitted the dastardly act of its operatives but claimed the action taken was precipitated by the requests of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to the commission to investigate a case of tax evasion it alleged against Pinnacle Communications.
“For the record, Pinnacle Communication is not a tax defaulter in any way. The company’s tax papers are up to date. This is easy for the commission to verify. So ICPC lied by claiming that its men were at Pinnacle’s office on tax issue.
“ICPC also claimed the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) transmitted plots 1718 and 1719 Cadzone A04, belonging to two companies mentioned, to them for investigation. The Pinnacle office invaded is on neither of the two plots quoted. Pinnacle’s office is on Plot 1721.
“The above shows that the plot on which the Pinnacle office is, which ICPC invaded, was not on the list sent to the commission by FIRS or FCTA for investigation,” the lawyer said.
He went further to argue that the operatives of the ICPC did not stumble on the firm’s property as claimed but rather intentionally invaded Pinnacle.
“Since the companies mentioned in the ICPC responses are different from Pinnacle and plots quoted different from that of Pinnacle, there was no reason, whatsoever, for the operatives to violently insist on gaining entrance into the building to effect an arrest and seal the firm. Even if their so-called coordinate was correct, the brazen action at that point would still amount to acting ultra vires.
“In any event, it is vitally imperative to state that Pinnacle Communications, in whom ownership of the premises invaded by ICPC is vested is not on the radar of FIRS,” the statement added.