• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

MTN masts in Ondo sealed for alleged N458m tax evasion

telecom-mast

The Ondo state government has sealed some mast sites belonging to MTN, due to an alleged N458 million tax evasion between 2010 and 2013.

Akin Akinsehinwa, the Chairman of Ondo State Board of Internally Generated Revenue said this while addressing reporters in the state’s capital.

Akinsehinwa mentioned that although a court order had been made backing the government’s action against the company, MTN allegedly continued to operate on the sealed masts.

“It is an unfortunate situation for a company that is supposed to be a socially responsible corporate organisation, getting involved in such kind of criminal activity.

“The board sealed off MTN offices and masts located across the state, following a court order for the alleged failure of the telecommunication company to pay the 2010-2013 tax of N458 million,” he said.

The chairman said that MTN had been confronted about the issue on several occasions and addressed on the need to pay its statutory taxed but had refused to pay.

“It was found out that there are some aspects of tax where it is yet to cooperate with us, such as withholding tax on supply and on professional fees, especially on its masts across Ondo State so we had no choice than to seek court’s order to seal of some masts,” he said.

However, MTN have dismissed tax evasion claims made by Ondo state government.

According to Amina Oyagbola MTN executive, “MTN has fulfilled all its statutory obligations with respect to PAYE, Withholding Tax and Development levy, amongst others, contrary to OSBIRS’ claim.

“MTN has also provided all the relevant assistance through direct engagement, meetings and production of documentation (including 3rd party contracts) which were availed to the Internal Revenue Board and its consultants.

Oyagbola confirmed that in the course of the visitation of the government officials, facilities including franchise stores owned by 3rd parties were also sealed pursuant to an ex-parte court order dated 7th December, 2015 which was enforced on 23rd December, 2015.

Speaking further, she stated that following the action in court instituted by the State government, MTN was duty bound to file relevant processes in addition to instituting an action at the Tax Appeal Tribunal.

She however refrained from commenting on the matter as, according to her, “In view of the pendency of the matter before the courts, I am unable to comment on same. We are however particularly concerned about the impact on our customers, the good people of Ondo State and other States, who will not be able to enjoy good services on both their voice calls and data as a result of this action,” she said.

JUMOKE AKIYODE