Many customers were stranded on Tuesday when the Kano State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) sealed five branches of Guaranty Trust Bank over tax evasion.

According to KIRS, the closure is in line with an order issued by Kano State High Court over the bank’s failure to audit and pay its taxes between 2014 and 2019.

The affected branches were the ones on Murtala Muhammad Way, Wapa, Zaria Road, Bachirawa and France Road.

Briefing journalists during the exercise, the Legal Director of the agency, Bashir Yusuf Madobi, said the bank’s refusal to pay the amount accruing to over one billion Naira, N1,005,687,755.55 or release some of their audit reports forced the agency to take the action.

He said, “What irritated us to take this action is that right from the initial stage, we demanded some documents from them which they failed to honour us and give us the documents.

“As a revenue authority, KIRS is saddled with the responsibility of enforcing payment of taxes. One of the procedures we follow in order to enforce payment of due tax is by instituting a court case before a competent court. So, we decided to file this case before the State High Court on ex parte application.

“So, we the KIRS as plaintiff after furnishing the court with all the evidence, the court satisfied that the tax is due, and based on that, it granted us judgement that we should go and seal the property of GT Bank.

“This is why we went there today to enforce the judgment and enforce the payment of due tax as provided under the extant revenue laws. “The money is over N1 billion. The next line of action is for them to come so that we sit down and sort it out if they are willing to do so.”

KIRS said the bank must pay a minimum of 25 per cent (amounting to over N250 million) of the liability and provide the earlier requested documents, a condition for reopening the sealed branches.

The bank is also expected to pay 10 per cent of the total revenue amount as provided for any taxpayer who refuses to pay until the matter gets to court.

According to Daily Trust, hundreds of customers who trooped to the affected branches for transactions earlier in the morning had to leave.

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