The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has filed charges of evading five years tax payment of N4.86 billion naira and forgery of Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) against Air Nigeria.
A copy of the charge filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja was exclusively obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, the company’s Chairman, Mr Kinfe Kahssaye, Managing Director and Air Nigeria Development Company Limited (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways Ltd), were joined in the 10-count charge.
The suit comes barely 48 hours after the service arrested Kahssaye in Lagos on Monday.
He was flown to Abuja same day and detained by the service and released on Tuesday afternoon.
An official of FIRS, who confirmed his release to NAN, said the service met with Ibrahim on Tuesday, but did not reach any agreement on the payment of the tax.
In the charge, FIRS accused officials of the indigenous airline of illegally obtaining Tax Clearance Certificates.
They were also said to have unlawfully presented the fake certificate to the Minister of Interior for the renewal of expatriate quota positions for 20 pilots and 10 other persons.
According to the FIRS, the accused persons failed to deduct and pay taxes accruing to government from Withholding Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) from 2007 to 2010, totaling N4.86 billion.
The charge said Air Nigeria and the accused persons failed to deduct at source, N394.16 million being taxes accruing to government from withholding tax between January and December 2006.
Similarly, the company was said to have failed to deduct withholding tax of N775.20 million being 10 per cent of the payments for direct services as prescribed under the Companies Income Tax Act.
The offence, according to the court papers, is punishable under Section 40 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act No 13 of 2007.
The accused were also said to have failed to file annual returns of the company for 2011 with the FIRS, as prescribed by Section 55 (1) of the Companies Income Tax Cap C21 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.
The charge said the failure to file annual returns ``was with the connivance of Ibrahim and Kahssaye; and you hereby committed an offence punishable under Section 55(4) and (5) of the same Act.''
According to the FIRS, some officials of Air Nigeria, sometime in January ``made counterfeit of tax certificate, purportedly issued by the FIRS in favour of Air Nigeria Development Company Ltd.
The whistleblower petition against Air Nigeria and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim that triggered the investigations and tax fraud charges:
TAX EVASION IN NIGERIA, GHANA, SAO TOME, UNITED KINGDOM AND UNITED STATE OF AMERICA BY BAR JIMOH IBRAHIM
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE WRITER.
I was appointed Executive Director Finance-International operations in Air Nigeria on 1st Aug, 2011. Promoted Finance Director of Air Nigeria on 17th Oct, 2011 and the jobs of Executive Director Treasury and Executive Director Finance were submerged into my job, thereby making me the sole Finance Director in Air Nigeria. On the 1st of Dec, 2011, I was appointed Non-Executive Director, Nigeria Re-insurance Corporation. On 18th of Dec, 2012 in Sao Tome annual Conference, I was appointed and it was announced the Coordinating Finance Director of the following companies Air Nigeria Development Ltd, Global fleet oil & Gas Ltd, Nicon Insurance Plc, Nigeria Re-insurance Plc, Nicon Properties Ltd, Nicon Luxury Hotel Ltd, Abuja Nicon hotels Ltd, Okitipupa Nicon hotels Ltd VGC Nicon hotels Ltd, PHC Newswatch communications Ltd, Newswatch Daily Ltd and National Mirror Ltd. In this position, I liaise with the relevant authority on tax matters as it affects the entire group.
WHY THIS PETITION
I was a victim of Bar Jimoh Ibrahim tax fraud. In the last twenty years, I have always paid my taxes as and when due. IT WAS A GREAT PAIN TO ME THAT TAXES DEDUCTED FROM MY SALARIES IN AIR NIGERIA, WERE NOT REMITTED IN 2011 AND I COULD NOT GET MY TAX CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE. All efforts that I made to convince Jimoh Ibrahim to approve the payment of taxes due to Federal and State Government were turndown.
EMPLOYEE TAX FRAUD
In all the companies owned by jimoh Ibrahim, taxes are not remitted to the relevant tax authorities but were deducted from staff salaries. This could be confirmed from the staff, because in the two strikes by Air Nigeria Engineer and Pilots, the issue of tax deductions not being remitted was one of the reason for the strike.( please, find attached a scan copy of their letter.) The implication is that in all these companies owned by Jimoh Ibrahim, no staff can assess his Certificate of Occupancy for land or assess others benefits from government because we do not have tax clearance certificate. This issue can be confirmed now from the staff and the tax board because no tax clearance certificate has been issued to any staff. Air Nigeria has problems with Pay- As- You- Earn tax with Imo State Board of Internal Revenue, Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue, River State Board of Internal Revenue, Sokoto state Board of Internal Revenue to mention but a few in Nigeria. This information can be verified. Outside Nigeria, we are owing heavy amount in taxes, namely cotonou 500million CFA, Ghana $1.2M, Cameroon $810,000, Brazilleville $400,000.
Jimoh Ibrahim tax evasion strategy is: "LET US USE GOVERNMENT MONEY TO DO BUSINESS AND MAKE LITTLE PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT FROM TIME TO TIME , SO AS TO MAKE RECONCILIATION IMPOSSIBLE."
From the above assertion, it is clear that part of Jimoh Ibrahim working capital is tax deducted from employee, pension fund deducted from employee, co-operative society fund deducted from employees’ salary. These funds have no cost element to his business empire. Air Nigeria staff can confirm, if these deductions has been remitted. When I visited IBTC Pension for my balance, I was shocked that out of the eight months that I worked in Air Nigeria, only 3 months have been remitted.
I therefore would like to use this opportunity to make a National call to all employee of Jimoh Ibrahim to insist that your tax clearance certificate be given to you, the pension fund and co-operative society deduction paid to the relevant authority. I also appeal to Nigeria Labour Congress to help all staff; because, Jimoh Ibrahim grip on them is too much. To all relevant tax authorities, I appeal for you immediate action to collect your money by exercising your powers. This call includes all the expatriate working in Air Nigeria Development Ltd, as tax papers forged on your behalf to renew your immigration status represents criminal offence on the part of the expatriate staff based on the tax laws of Nigeria. I attached the internal memo which was forward to a vendor to forge expatriate tax papers. In Nigeria, you cannot renew your expatriate immigration papers without your tax clearance certificate.
CORPORATE TAX - FRAUD
The following companies namely ;Air Nigeria Development Ltd, Global fleet oil & Gas Ltd, Nicon Insurance Plc, Nigeria RE-insurance Corporation, Nicon Properties Ltd, Nicon Luxury Hotel Ltd, Abuja Nicon hotels Ltd, Okitipupa Nicon hotels Ltd VGC, Nicon hotels Ltd, PHC News watch communications Ltd, Newswatch Daily Ltd and National Mirror Ltd, do not have current tax clearance certificate. To get, the new names of these companies just add ENERGY. All these companies do not pay corporate taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Services in Nigeria. Even withholding tax deducted from sales on behalf of Federal Government, are not remitted. Air Nigeria is owing to date, N1.8Billion to Federal Inland Revenue Service being accumulated withholding tax collected on behalf of Federal Government. The system is the same. Make little payment on account and make reconciliation impossible with the staff of tax authority. The last signed audited account of Air Nigeria was 2009 and the same applies to Nigeria Re-insurance Corporation.
This explains why Nigerian Re-insurance Corporation cannot file her statutory returns and cannot do re-insurance business in Nigeria to date. If Jimoh Ibrahim wants to deny these issues, let him published in two national newspapers the tax clearance papers of these companies within 24hours of this publication. I make a call to the relevant tax authority to do their statutory jobs on Jimoh Ibrahim energy group of companies.
TAX EVASION BY BAR JIMOH IBRAHIM ON HIS PERSONAL INCOME.
Every week Jimoh Ibrahim withdraws millions of naira from Air Nigeria sales proceed which is transferred into Nicon Investment Ltd, these monies are used to buy dollars from the black market in Lagos. These withdrawals are treated as income by Jimoh Ibrahim in his records.
Again when Federal Government pays pension money to Nicon Insurance Plc, a large chunk of the money (over 95%) is used to buy dollars from black market. This is also treated as income by Jimoh Ibrahim as these withdrawals do not come back to Nicon Insurance Plc/Air Nigeria.
The money is parked in his travelling bags by his PA ( Mr. Ayeni ) and on getting to the Airport, Miss Jill Owatemi, who does not know the content of the bag, ensures that the bags are not security screened having worked in various airport station as a station manager. The dollar bag is loaded into Jimoh Ibrahim private jet, which flies to Ghana, dubai or sao tome. These dollars are paid into Jimoh Ibrahim personal bank account in Energy Bank of Ghana or Energy Bank of Sao Tome.
From these banks, the dollar is transferred to USA and United Kingdom. The prefer bank in London is union Bank and in USA is UBA. On all these money laundering whose original sources are illegal but has been made legal through breaking the source, no tax is paid.
I would ask that Jimoh Ibrahim should publish his tax clearance certificate to the relevant tax authority to investigate and prove tax evasion. When, he goes to United Kingdom, he is not taxed because; he claims that his residence is in Nigeria. When he is in USA, he claims that he pays tax in Nigeria, while he is involved in an intensive and extensive tax evasion in Nigeria.
He does business in United Kingdom and USA with these withdrawals from Air Nigeria Sales proceeds and Nicon Insurance Plc, pension money paid by the Accountant General of Nigeria, in his sole capacity. This money goes into UK AND USA as personal investment. However, this money represents fraudulent withdrawal from corporate institution owned by many people including Federal Government.
It should be noted that Federal Government still owns 30% of Nicon Insurance Plc. In all these companies owed partly by Federal Government and Jimoh Ibrahim, no board meeting has been held to rectify all these withdrawals and no board resolutions were approved on all these massive withdrawals. I make this call to our National assembly in our national interest, let the Accountant General published the amount of money paid to Nicon Insurance Plc, in the last seven years and let the bank statement be made public for reconciliation.
Jimoh Ibrahim, is an international thief stealing Federal Government money through massive withdrawals. Shareholders should be paid dividend but in all these companies, no financial statement has been prepared, so you cannot talk of profit or loss and payment of dividend. No dividend has been paid over the years on these companies and that probably explained why two former finance ministers have called Jimoh Ibrahim, national thief.
Jimoh Ibrahim does not pay tax in these countries but his bank account showed heavy movement of money laundering. If jimoh Ibrahim, does not do any business in USA and United Kingdom, why does he use these countries to receive money from Ghana, dubai and Sao Tome. I know like James Ibori that Jimoh Ibrahim is above the law in Nigeria but I hereby appeal to UK/USA tax authority to investigate Jimoh Tax records. He is using fraudulent system to break audit trail of large movement of money, described as income in his local records in Nigeria.
I appeal to the Federal Government for intervention. I am being persecuted, blackmailed and my character is being assassinated every day because of speaking the truth. Every day Jimoh Ibrahim as the publisher of national mirror newspaper advertises my picture with disclaimer notice and rubbish are written against my person. My life is also under threat as several strange faces now parades within the vicinity of my residence.
I appeal for international support to stop this fraudulent baron and his cohort from exterminating me. We disagree on specific issues which I have made very clear to Jimoh Ibrahim. I repeat it to the world at large, I John Nnorom do not need blood money from his flying coffin-Air Nigeria and cannot be involved in any fraudulent activities including money laundering. I detailed below the police frame charges against me.
To my Fellow Nigerians, I say a big thank you all for your support in fighting this battle. I am highly encouraged by your various e-mails from saharareporters online publication and your great comments when Aljazeera Television Station aired Air Nigeria as the Flying Coffin
JOHN I NNOROM
JIMOH IBRAHIM POLICE BLACKMAIL STORY IN NATIONAL MIRROR
Following your comment on the internet on my petition stating how jimoh Ibrahim turned air Nigeria to flying coffin, I wish to inform all how the police blackmail started. I ATTACHED MY LETTER OF RESIGNATION AND THE ACCEPTANCE BY KINFE KIHASSAYE, THE CEO OF AIR NIGERIA. In his response to my letter of resignation, he stated three points to note.
1. Why did you copy your letter of resignation to so many people, including the leasing company?
2. Help us to recover the sum of $100,000 due from a company that you introduce to us.
3. Please, make your disengagement honourable.
To make my disengagement honourable, I approached the company, cotrac global enterprise and the issue was resolved. I then ask if I could collect the money and keep as part of my exit entitlement and they said capital NO. I sought for legal opinion and my team of lawyers said, do not touch otherwise they can establish a case of criminal conversion against you. At this point, I withdrew from the resolution of cotrac global enterprise issue with Air Nigeria. It should be noted that this company has done so many business with Air Nigeria and therefore a well known vendor with Air Nigeria. On 21st of April, 2012, I was in my house, when my son showed the newspaper, National Mirror, published by Jimoh Ibraham, where my picture appeared stating that police arrested me and the sum of $75,000 was recovered from me. We were all shocked but I know jimoh Ibrahim is a man of poor character and immediately asked my lawyer to file a suit. On 27th of April a suit was filed, suit number FHC/CS/441/2012, which was later assigned to Justics Liman, seeking for the exercise of my fundamental human right and claiming for damages. This suit was served to Nigeria police, the CP in charge of Special Fraud Unit, called Tunde Ogunsakin, a childhood friend of Jimoh Ibrahim, who is extremely emotional about any issue concerning jimoh Ibrahim. Jimoh Ibrahim avoided the service of the court summons from the bailiff, so the case could not go forward because all parties must be served. In the suit, I sworn an affidavit that SFU did not arrest me, did not recover any money from me and did not invite me, that I read this issue in jimoh Ibrahim newspaper called National Mirror. On 3rd may, 20102, another publication was done in his National Mirror Newspaper, stating alleged fraud: police declare Ex-Air Nigeria Finance Director wanted.
The question that any intelligent person can ask, is that, the first publication of National Mirror dated 21st April 2012, stated that I was arrested and money was recovered from me. The second publication of National Mirror dated 3rd May, 2012, stated that police declare me wanted. How can police declare me wanted after recovering money from me on 21st April 2012 and come forward to declare me wanted on 3rd may, 2012, 12days after I was arrested. This is jimoh Ibrahim blackmail.
Since then, there has been several publications on disclaimer. I also attached other newspapers publications.
In addition to the above, on 16th May, 2012 the same newspaper published SFU arrest, detain Ex-Air Nigeria Finance Director, recovers $100,000. Nigerians should judge jimoh Ibrahim. I reported to SFU, on 14th May, with my lawyers and the suit filed in the court and on Thursday morning, being 16th May, I was rushed to court. What kind of investigation, did police do within 2 days. I was accused of being the alter ego of cotrac global enterprise, the same company that the CEO Kinfe Khassaye, while acknowledging my letter of resignation asked me to help Air Nigeria recover. I do not feel bad but I understand this as part of the persecution for revealing the truth. My article was sent to some media houses in Lagos immediately I resigned but Jimoh Ibrahim controls over 70% of the media within the Lagos area. It was only the daily independence of may 7th, 2012 that published in page 17, Ex-Air Nigeria staff denies sack, demands N25M. This matter became public through the truth fight spirit of saharareporters.com For the souls that we are fighting to save, We are indebted to Saharareporters.com
The whole story of my sack, dismissal, disclaimer and police arrest is a well-planned blackmail by jimoh Ibrahim. He is using Tunde Ogunsaken to disgrace the Nigeria Police because, when we reported the issue of my being charged to court to IG office, the question that was asked is, how did a senior police officer, concluded an investigation of such nature within a day and half.
Again this transaction was duly approved by Air Nigeria authorized signatory which as at that time includes Kinfe Kahassye, (CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER), john nnorom, (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FINANCE) fola osibe, (ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER TREASURY) ernest Onwubu( MANAGER-TREASURY) and Folake Taiwese, (THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDITOR). All these people were not invited to the Police station. In Air Nigeria, no transaction can be executed without jimoh Ibrahim approval. Although, he is designated Chairman but he does the work of Executive Chairman. Jimoh Ibrahim reports everyday whenever, he is in Lagos in our office for meeting and gives specific directive on how each transaction shall be executed. Jimoh Ibrahim approved this transaction, so where is the fraud. The enterprise was paid naira at below black market @ N159.5 per dollar, when market rate was N161, to source for $500,00 dollars. The enterprise delivered $200,000 first week, another $200,000 in the second week and there was little disagreement on the changes in the market rate for the last delivery of $100,000. It was at this point that, Kinfe asked me to intervene and the enterprise delivered the balance of $100,000 through SFU, to Air Nigeria as was agreed despite little delay. Where is the fraud? I will upload these newspaper publications for Nigerians to study the modus operandi of jimoh Ibarhim blackmail story. LET FELLOW NIGERIAN JUDGE JIMOH IBRAHIM POOR CHARACTER AND HOW HE IS USING NATIONAL MIRROR TO BLACKMAIL PROFESSIONALS.
Thank you all for your support in fighting this battle which is aimed at saving souls. Together we shall win this battle and men like Jimoh Ibrahim will be given the right seat in this nation. He is seating on the wrong seat now and eating blood money, we will not allow him waste more souls in Nigeria.
JOHN I NNOROM