Activities of Julius Berger, Dangote Depot Disrupted over Alleged Non-payment of Tenement Rates, Levies in A’Ibom

Okon Bassey in Uyo

Works at the Julius Berger Plc and Dangote Cement Depot in Akwa Ibom State came to a standstill for many hours yesterday when revenue consultants from Itu Local Government Area of the state blocked the companies’ main gates.

Media Checks revealed that the action of the revenue consultants was to enforce payment of tenement rates and other levies which Julius Berger Plc and Dangote Cement reportedly owed for a period of two years.

The revenue officials were said to have used their Hilux van to block the Julius Berger main gate at about 12:30 p.m,. restricting all vehicular movements into the premises for more than three hours.

After the threat, they proceeded to th Dangote depot, a few metres away, where they also carried out similar action.

Julius Berger is said to owe the tenements rate and levies of over N81million while Dangote Cement Depot has outstanding debt of over N53 million to remit to the council.

The Manager, Eggheads Tax Practitioners, consultants to the local government area, Mr. Dominic Williams, who spoke with journalists on their action, expressed disappointment that despite demand notices served on the companies, they had refused to pay a dime to the local government coffers.

The council in it wisdom, he said, granted a waiver in 2020 because of the post COVID-19 situation, but regretted that subsequent entreaties in 2021 and earlier this year to make the affected companies pay their dues, including an invitation by the state commissioner of police, fell on deft ears.

 According to him, “We are here at the instance of tax evasion that has been committed by Julius Berger and Dongote Cement Depot. In 2020, because of the post-COVID-19 situation, the council in it wisdom granted waiver, but in 2021, there was a demand notice that was served on them.

“Before the demand notice was served, the council employed the services of an estate valuer, who was assisted with a surveyor who went round the whole place for valuation and assessment.

“Thereafter, we gave them a demand notice based on assessed amount, and besides this, there were other levies and fees that accrued to the council which was also assessed on them.

“We came here severally; we served demand notices and followed up with a reminder and they gave deaf ears.

“Based on this, the council chairman in his peaceful disposition reported the issue to the state police commissioner who invited them for a briefing, but they refused to attend. Invitation was served twice but none of them turned up.

“It’s based on this that we decided to come here today to tell the world that Julius Berger and Dangote Cement Depot have been evading taxes and levies in Akwa Ibom State.”

None of the Julius Berger’s representatives came out to address the revenue officials except for the security officials who hid their identities because they were not authorised to speak.

The development resulted in a clash between the officials and the security officers as they hauled abusive words against one another.

At the premises of Dangote Depot, however, the Inventory Officer, who identified himself as Abubakar Sani, pleaded with the revenue officials to wait for the depot manager, whom he said  had gone out for an official engagement, adding that he (Sani) was not aware of the claim that they have been coming to the company but to no avail.

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