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Court summons Citibank Chair, MD over alleged tax evasion

By on March 26, 2011

A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Chairman of the Nigerian International Bank Limited (Citibank), Chief C. S. Sankey and the bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, to appear before it on April 7 this year, failing which a bench warrant would be issued against them.

The order by Justice Fatima Nyako was informed by the duo’s alleged refusal to appear in court to answer to a 20 countcharge brought against them by the Federal Government over alleged offences of tax evasion among others.

Also to appear before the judge are the former Managing Director of the bank, Mr Peter Harris, five executive directors of the bank and eight other senior officials.

They are specifically accused of alleged involvement in fraud, tax evasion and denying the federal government money due to it as import duties.

Justice Nyako, in a ruling last week, observed that the accused persons have refused to attend court since 2009 when the charge was first filed.

The judge, who appeared miffed by accused persons’ attitude, frowned at their refusal to appear in court despite several warnings, warning that she would accord them the last opportunity to appear at the next date, failing, which a bench warrant will be issued.

“I frown seriously at the attitude of the accused person. However, due to the passionate appeal of the Prof. Osipitan (SAN)) on behalf of his client, I grant this last adjournment to the accused persons to appear in court and failing which I shall issue a bench warrant against them,” the judge said.

The offences, according to the charge sheet, are contrary to section 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap A6 laws of the federation 2004 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.

Their alleged offences are said to also be in violation of Section 161 (1) (a), 162 (a & b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap C45 laws of the federation 2004; Section 516 of the Criminal Code Section1 (2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act Cap M17 and Section 1(2)(d) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act Cap R4 laws of the federation 2004.

At the last hearing, prosecution lawyer, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), stressed the need for the court to issue a bench warrant on the accused persons for refusing to appear in court.

The bank’s lawyer, Mr Olu Daramola (SAN), who sought the court’s permission to withdraw the preliminary objection filed in 2009, asked for a date for hearing of his new preliminary objection dated February 21 this year.

Source : The Nation