Abia 2015: Okezie Ipkeazu denies Having Any Tax Issue

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The Abia State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dr.

Okezie Ikpeazu has debunked rumours making the rounds that he is having
issues with tax payment, describing the report as false and the handiwork
of his detractors, who are afraid of his pedigree.

The PDP governorship candidate who addressed journalists at his campaign
office in Umuahia, said that having been in public office in the past 12
years where he held various appointments with the Government of Abia
State, said that payment of tax for him is not a choice, but a compulsory,
since it was deducted at source through the Pay As You Earn system (PAYE)
before his salary gets to him.

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His words: “Let me use this opportunity to debunk the false publications
circulating in some section of the media that I have issue with my tax.
There is nothing like that. In fact such rumor has exposed those behind as
people who are ignorant of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax system and have
refused to be educated on the issue.

“Since 2002 when I left Enugu State University of Science and Technology,
where I was Head, Department of Biochemistry, I have held different
political appointment with the Abia State Government. As an appointee of
government, payment of tax is not a choice to me, but a compulsory. It is
something I must do, whether I like it or not, because the government
deducts all deductibles through the PAYE system before my salary comes to
me at the end of ever month. So how I can then be accused of having issue
with payment of tax?”

Dr. Ikpeazu also explained that one of those he defeated at the PDP
primaries, Mr. Friday Nwosu, sponsored three persons who filed imported
the tax papers of one Chief Okezie Ikpeazu, a businessman also from
Obingwa who bears the same name with him and went to a Federal High Court
in Abuja, thinking that he was the one involved.

According to him, the plaintiffs lost the case in court, with a N100,000
fine that was awarded to him. Ikpeazu stressed that he has no business
going to any tax office to negotiate, adding that those peddling the
rumour are making mockery of themselves as the tax matter is a non issue.

He said that those spearheading the rumour are doing so because they see
him as a threat and pointed out that his vision for the state include
looking for alternative ways of funding projects as well as enhancing the
internally generated revenue base of the state.

According to him, he is lucky to be enjoying the support of the Governor
of the state, Chief Theodore Orji and major stakeholders in the state and
stated his commitment to consolidate on the achievements of the Governor.

Dr. Ikpeazu maintained that what should occupy the minds of people at this
point is not tax but how to move the state higher.

In his speech, a member of the legal team of the Okezuo Abia campaign
organization, Barr. Teddy Eruba, who represented Dr. Ikpeazu in court over
the issue, disclosed that Dr. Ikpeazu does not have any tax issues that
will disqualify him from running for the governorship position, saying
that it is infantile for any person to consider tax default as one of the
conditions likely to disqualify Dr. Ikpeazu or any candidate from running
for governorship position.

In a related development, the President of Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Mr. Chidi Ajaegbu, who is an expert in tax
issues, has also said that Dr. Ikpeazu has a current tax clearance
certificate which expires 31st December 2014.

According to him, the tax certificate contains his tax history for the
past three (3) years covering 2011, 2012 and 2013 year of assessments.

His words: “Going by section 3 subsection b of the Personal Income Tax
(Amendment) Act 2011, tax is to be collected on all income received by a
tax payer from employment, investments, business and other sources of
income subject to consolidated relieves, statutory deductions such as
National Housing fund, Pension, National social insurance trust fund,
National Health Insurance Scheme granted by the Act and non income earning
receipts by the tax payer.

“It is believed that the Tax payer sole income is from employment and such
employment incomes were fully disclosed. The Employment income includes
Basic salary and all other allowances.

“Bank statements, payslips and employment letter are documents to prove
the completeness of the income.

“Employers operating Pay as you Earn PAYE are Agents of the State Internal
Revenue Service, they deduct taxes from the remunerations of employees and
remit same on their behalf.

“It is believed that Abia State passenger Integrated management and safety
Scheme operated a PAYE and the PAYE was deducted and remitted from the
emoluments of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu who then was a General Manager.

“Section 20 of the amendment Act stipulates that tax returns of a year of
assessment must be done within 30days of the following year unlike the
principal Act which required returns to be filed within 90days of the
following year.

“The PAYE receipts showed that PAYE were remitted within the stipulated
time of the law.”

It will be recalled that Justice Abdu Kafarati of the Federal High Court
Abuja struck out suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/94/2014 filed by the following: Hon.
Dr. Bernad O. Orji, Barr. Ugochukwu Ndubuka and Mr. Chidi Nwosu, who are
cronies of Mr. Friday Nwosu.

Justice Kafarati in his ruling said: “plaintiff suit struck out same
having been discontinued. However, I awarded N100,000 cost to the 3rd
defendant (Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu) against the plaintiff.”