IT was a bizarre scenario Tuesday in Ogume, Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State when military personnel attached to an Indian petrochemical company, Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon Limited held enforcement officers of the State Internal Revenue Service hostage at their security base at Ogume road , Utagba-Ogbe, Kwale, Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State
The State Revenue Officers led by the Director of Operations Mr. Felix Ojie had been detailed to the petrochemical facility by the Chairman of the Revenue Board, Sir Monday Onyeme following reports of tax evasion by the company.
Reportedly operating with an estimated one thousand two hundred Indian expatriate staff in different capacities, the company is accused of failure to register its presence in the state as a business entity, failure to remit personal income taxes of its employees as well as payment of other taxes accruable to the state government with regards to their operations within the state.
Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon Limited has its corporate headquarters in Lagos and it is into oil and gas exploration and refining.
The enforcement team visited the the company’s massive hydrocarbon industrial project/ refinery site covering over ten acres of land with state-of-the-art equipment being fitted for extensive petroleum and gas production.
After holding the staff for more than 40 minutes, the Chairman, State Revenue Service, Chief Monday Onyeme has to drive to the premises to rescue the staff.
Chief Onyeme advised companies wishing to do business in the state to ensure strict compliance with relevant tax laws in the state to avoid having their operations shut down.
The company agreed to submit their operations to tax assessment and a meeting between the Revenue Board and Ashtavinayak hydrocarbon was slated for Monday next week.
Story by Gionanni Emephia