FORMER Super Eagles skipper Austin JJ Okocha has finally resolved his tax dispute with the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (Lirs) by visiting the agency and reconciling his accounts avoiding the prospect of being arrested.
In February Okocha, 45, failed to appear before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere following an adjournment to answer charges as why he failed to pay his income taxes. Subsequently, Judge Adedayo Akintoye issued the warrant for the arrest, having already adjourned the case when it was first heard on January 29.
At the hearing, the judge instructed the prosecution to execute the warrant and effect the arrest as Okocha is facing a three-count charge instituted by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice bordering on his failure to furnish his income returns and the non-payment of tax. According to the prosecutor, Mr Okocha had failed to furnish his income returns for tax purposes to Lirs and all attempts to get him to respond to requests had failed.
Today, however, Lagos State prosecutor, Mrs Y A Pitan, told Justice Akintoye that the former national team captain had visited the Lirs office and reconciled his accounts. She then applied to the court for an adjournment to enable her file a notice of discontinuance of the charge preferred against Okocha.
Justice Akintoye granted her prayer and withdrew the warrant of arrest earlier issued on the defendant. She adjourned further hearing until November 14, to enable the prosecution file a notice of discontinuance of the charge.
On June 6 2017, prosecutors had filed a three-count charge against Okocha accusing him of failure to furnish returns of income for tax purposes with Lirs and failure to pay income tax. These offences contravene Section 56(a) and (b) of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law No. 8 of 2006 and Section 94 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (As Amended).