Edo shuts Benin FRCN, RayPower over alleged N9.2m tax debt

The Edo State Internal Revenue Service has closed down the Benin station of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and Daar Communications Plc, over alleged indebtedness.

It was gathered that the stations, also known as Bronze FM and RayPower FM, respectively, were sealed on Tuesday morning by officials of the EIRS.

It was also gathered that the revenue service accused Bronze FM of failing to pay up a tax liability of N5.2 million while RayPower FM owed four million naira.

The development was said to have come as a surprise to many of the workers, who resumed work to find the premises of the broadcast outfit sealed.

Both stations were also off air when our correspondent tuned to their frequencies on 101.5 and 105.5 megahertz, respectively, as of 4pm on Tuesday.

Bronze FM had been shut on September 28 by the agency over the non-payment of an outstanding debt of N6.7m, which grounded commercial activities for two weeks.

The revenue service had claimed that the figure represented unpaid remittances of income taxes spanning two years by the radio station.

It had stated that the station owed N2,583,344.60 in 2011, including an interest of N443,000 at 21 per cent, and N4,185,912.17 for 2012, which also included interest and a penalty of over N800,000.

However, a staff of the radio station alleged that the medium was not indebted as it had made some payments in the past.

The staff, who did not want to be mentioned, also noted that the headquarters of the broadcast outfit had taken charge of tax payment.

The worker said, “They (EIRS officials) did not give any reason but what I deduced is that it is still almost the same issue that made them to shut it (station) down. We paid some money at that time and we also said that we were not owing again, since the headquarters has taken over payment of salaries and taxes.

“It has being paying directly to the board (EIRS). Apart from the money we paid at that time, we are not owing. They are asking for evidence and I do not know what evidence they want because once the salaries are paid, all the deductibles are removed.”

But the spokesman for the revenue service, Mr. Courage Eboigbe, explained that the stations were closed by the order of a court for failing to pay the tax debts.  Punch

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