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Court Jails Chartered Accountant Over N7.3M Tax Fraud, Forgery

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ABUJA, Dec 07, (THEWILL) - For scheming with three semployees of Skye Bank Nigeria Plc, to defraud the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS of N7.3 million, a chartered accountant, Mr. Abayomi Sofolayan, is to spend 18 months in jail. Justice Abimbola Obaseki handed down the 18-month jail verdict, without an option of fine at a Makurdi Federal High Court on Monday where Sofolayan pleaded guilty to a 12-count charge of forgery, fraudulent diversion of cheques, conspiracy and nine other related charges. The accused persons, Jacob Dzurgba, Abayomi Sofolahan, James Uwalaha, Deji Sanni, Afolabi Suleiman (now at large), Etuk Umo and an Assistant Director at the FIRS, fraudulently paid the sum of N5 million naira being tax payment made by Guardian Newspapers Limited into a fictitious Federal Inland Revenue Service Account No. 3111750000240 with Skye Bank Plc, 88 Old Otukpo road, Makurdi, Benue State; thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The accused persons followed this up with another attempt to steal the sum of N7, 350,936 (Seven million, three hundred and fifty thousand, nine hundred and thirty six naira only) being tax payments made by Guardian Newspapers Limited into a fictitious Federal Inland Revenue Service Account No. 3111750000240 with the same bank. Sofolayan had admitted his guilt when he refunded the sum of N2.5 million. For one of the 10 count charges, Sofolayan was fined the sum of N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira). Justice Obaseki however gave him no option of fine for counts three, ten and eleven.

In another suit, also in Makurdi, Ran-Yaks Nigeria Ltd, Abu Yakubu Labaran, Donatus Aboh, Emmanuel Igbokwe Miebi Tiemo, Azubike Iheanacho (now at large) and Yusuf Bello (now at large) are being tried for forging the signature of the FRS Chairman to write the Branch Manager of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc who authorized the opening of FIRS Account No. 2601040012156 with Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Idah Branch. The account was used to steal various sums including N31, 410,600.00 (Thirty-one million, four hundred and ten thousand, six hundred naira) which was paid into a Ran-Yaks Nig Ltd Current Account No. 5241020014016 in the same bank.