NIGERIA: Agbaje Evaded Tax for Four Years, Alleges Lagos Govt

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 The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said the state governorship candidate in the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Jimi Agbaje, had evaded land use charge for a period of four years contrary to section 24(f) of the 1999 Constitution.

The state government also said a breach of the section “is a criminal offence under our law. This had been the state of the human affairs since society was voluntarily formed. Anyone who advocates the non-payment of taxes is as guilty as tax evader.”

The state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this at the state’s eight annual taxation stakeholders meeting in Ikeja, saying the payment of tax “is the first principle of the social contracts between the government and the citizens.”

At the meeting, Fashola said the payment of taxation “is prescribed by section 24(f) of the 1999 constitution. It states that it shall be the duty of every citizen to declare its income to the appropriate and lawful agency; and pay it promptly.”

He added that all the citizens, who have paid their taxes, “have shown that they are lawful citizens. Anyone who has failed to pay tax is a bad citizen. Breach of this responsibility is a criminal offence under our law.

“In 2007, Agbaje contested on the platform of Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA). The payment of tax is the first principle of the social contracts between the government and the citizens. It is an irreducible legal minimum of citizenship.

Fashola further alleged: “He is also a cheat. Such person benefit from the commonwealth – the roads, hospitals and other facilities provided by funds generated from taxes paid by the residents. Land use charge is grand rent and tenement rate; they were consolidated.”

He explained that Agbaje “manages a pharmacy called Jaykay Pharmacy. The drugstore is located at 9, Randle Close Apapa. His pharmacy has not paid land Use Charge for four years-2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.”

He added that the drugstore paid in 2013 and 2014 because Agbaje discovered that the election would be holding in 2015, noting that his pharmacy “is still owing the Lagos State Government N1, 629, 064.62.”

The governor urged the residents of the state “not to vote Agbaje in the next election. I know you have to vote next month but look at that candidate that would need to take over from me. Be careful of who to vote for. You will remember in 2007, he claimed that he was in DPA and later crossed to the PDP.

“Let us do that mathematic to see how many facilities that funds would have provided in our hospitals and stationeries in our schools. But this was the same person who was complaining that the state government spent 3 per cent of its budget on education.

“Local government is responsible for the management of the primary schools. Yet, he has withheld their taxes. This is the man who wants to be your next governor. I will advise you that you avoid deception and a tax evader.”

He added that the state government “dealt with 600 cases. But the important thing with these cases was that it showed increase in compliance. Some of the cases were not completed because the defaulters complied. The prosecution led to the recovery of hundreds of million for the state government.”

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