By Philip Yatai
The North West Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Kaduna on Tuesday began hearing of N6.1 billion tax evasion case brought against Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, by the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS).
The revenue service had on January 16, 2014 instituted the case against ABU for failure to implement the full Pay-As-You-Earn tax table and remit same to the service from 2007 to 2012, amounting to N6.1 billion.
ABU had earlier requested for out-of-court settlement and the tribunal chaired by Umar Adamu granted the request and adjourned the case till April 30 for report of settlement or hearing.
The Counsel to KDIRS, Mr Francis Kozah informed the court that the revenue service held series of meetings with the management of the institution but could not reach any substantive settlement.
Kozah prayed the court to commence hearing so as to conclude the five-year long case.
The counsel, through his first witness, tendered before the court the Tax Audit Report 2007 to 2012 and was admitted in evidence as Exhibit A.
He equally tendered the Demand Notice to the tune of N6.1 billion in respect of the Audit Report served on the respondent and was admitted in evidence as Exhibit B.
He prayed on the tribunal to ask the institution to pay all outstanding PAYE arrears including interest and penalty as stated by law.
The Counsel to ABU, Mr Christopher Ikpa requested for a new date to cross examine the witness.
But Kozah objected the request on the grounds that the witness written disposition, adopted in the court has been with the respondent since February 27, 2019.
“The respondent was equally aware that the case comes up today (Tuesday) for either report of settlement or hearing.
“Also, the adjournments and the delay of this case has been on the instance of the respondent, any further adjournment will encourage the respondent to continue with the antics of the delay of the matter.
“I, therefore, urge the tribunal to reject the application and order the counsel to cross examine the witness,” he added.
Immediately after Koza’s submission, counsel to A.B.U collapsed on his table over an unidentified illness.
The development forced Kozah to accept Ikpa’s request on health ground and asked the court to grant his request for adjournment.
The chairman of the tribunal granted the request and adjourned the case till May 23 for cross examination.
Similarly, the tribunal also adjourned the case between KDIRS and Kaduna Polytechnic till unspecific date in June, over the institution’s non-remittance of PAYE to the tune of N3.4 billion to KDIRS.
The amount was the accumulation of non-remittance of PAYE to the Kaduna State Government from 2007 to 2012.
The case also came up for report of settlement or commencement of hearing, but Kozah told the court that the out of court settlement did not yield any result.
Responding, the counsel to Kaduna Polytechnic, Mr Andrew Nwako, appealed to the tribunal to give his client additional time to further explore the out-of-court settlement, which according to him has reached advanced stage.
Kozah did not object and the chairman of the tribunal granted the request.