It was reported few days ago that Ex-Super Eagles’ captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha has resolved his tax evasion case with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Boarding with indications rife that the suit may be struck out today when it comes up for hearing. But the bad news now is that a Lagos High Court in Igbosere has renewed a bench warrant for the arrest of former Super Eagles captain for alleged tax evasion.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye made the order following Okocha’s alleged failure to settle a 2017 income tax evasion case brought against him by the Lagos State Government. The judge first made the order on January 29, following an application by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
The ministry told the court that Okocha had also failed to appear in court since 2017 when the case was filed against him.
“Failure to pay income tax contrary to Section 56(a) and (b) of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law No. 8 of 2006. “Failure to furnish a return of Income for tax purposes with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service contrary to Section 94(1)of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (As Amended).”
On January 29, 2019, a Lagos High Court had issued a bench warrant for Okocha’s arrest for failing to appear in court severally to defend himself on the allegation of tax evasion brought against him.
The prosecutor, Dr Jide Martins had on June 6, 2017, filed the charge and when the case came up for hearing on October 5, 2017, the defendant did not appear in court. The prosecution had told the court that the defendant had failed to furnish the Lagos State Internal Revenue Board with a return of Income for tax purposes.
He said that the offences contravened Sections 56 (a) and (b) of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law No.8, 2006 and Section 94 (I) of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Okocha is the first high profile Nigerian footballer to be dragged to court for tax evasion.
Top stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo hauled before courts for similar cases in Spain. Ronaldo was handed a suspended jail term recently in addition to paying millions of dollars to the Spanish tax authorities.
The ex-Real Madrid superstar signed an agreement to pay $21.6 million in fines after he pleaded guilty to tax fraud in a Madrid Court. The Portuguese striker, now playing for Juventus, faced tax avoidance charges from his time as a player in Spain at Real Madrid.
Source: The Nation
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