By Nathan Nwakamma
The Bayelsa Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), on Friday sealed off the Bayelsa office of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), over alleged non-remittance of N336million Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax liability.
The BIR enforcement team served a court order on the staff before they ordered them to leave their offices.
The Director of Compliance, Mr Robert Lokoson, who led the enforcement team, said the state government took the steps following fruitless efforts made to recover the outstanding tax deducted from workers’ salaries since 2014.
Lokoson said the operation was part of renewed efforts to boost the internally generated revenue of the state.
“This operation is part of efforts to recover tax revenue owed to the government by Niger Delta Development Commission and pursuant to Section 104 of Personal Income Tax Law, 2011.
“The debt has been owed since 2014 and we have written series of letters to them to pay, but no response from them.
“Four weeks back, we came and persuaded the management of NDDC to pay, but when it became obvious they were not ready to pay, we had to approach the courts to get the orders to seal their office.
“So, we have to take this last resort of getting court orders, after we had exhausted other options,’’ the director said.
He said at the expiration of 14 days, if the tax liability was not settled, the revenue board will be compelled to liquidate assets of NDDC to recover the tax debt.
Meanwhile staff of the NDDC who were forced out of their offices, wondered why the commission could not remit the taxes deducted from their salary.
The Bayelsa representative on the NDDC board, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, was not available when the team visited for the tax drive.