The Federal Internal Revenue Service, FIRS, in Abuja yesterday agreed to look into the outstanding taxes of national flag carrier, Air Nigeria.
This came during a meeting with the Management of the national carrier following the invitation of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kinfe Kassahye, on Monday by FIRS officials.
The airline however re-acted to a purported press release issued yesterday by the FIRS saying the tax authority did not understand the issues of assets and liabilities in an acquired company.
It said that under forms CO2 and CO7 Particulars of Shareholders filed at the Corporate Affairs Commission; Virgin Atlantic still owns 49 per cent of the shares of Air Nigeria, “a position a clerk in the Federal Inland Revenue Service ought to know.”
“It is so sad that the FIRS does not understand that the liabilities of a shareholder is limited to the amount of shares purchased.
“The management of Air Nigeria frowns at the use of a Federal Government agency by rival competitors to promote their business,” the management said.
The airline also said that it was at a loss as to the figure of the said out-standing taxes quoted by the FIRS.
“The FIRS letter stated N1.5bn, but the press release says N4.6bn; which suggests that Federal Inland Revenue Service does not understand its job.
“Air Nigeria has resolved to pursue to a logical conclusion, the abuse of power and unnecessary demands by tax enforcement officials. A military approach in a civilian era is criminal,” the airline insisted.
Commenting on the issue of tax certificate, the management pointed out that a former Director of Finance of Air Nigeria, Mr. John Nnorom, who was dismissed from service and currently facing criminal charges procured the expatriate quotas which is to the knowledge of the FIRS.
It said: “The best approach is for the FIRS to join hands with us to ensure that Nnorom’s criminal activities are contained rather than arresting innocent chief executives.
“Again the airline stands by its earlier statement that we find in this case, the hands of Esau and the voice of Jacob.”