The Federal Inland Revenue Service on Tuesday commenced the prosecution of two of its officers accused of issuing forged and counterfeit tax clearance certificates to some persons.
Also arraigned with the FIRS officials before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State for the alleged offence were two members of staff of the Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue.
The accused, who are facing a 12-count charge, are Igbanibo Inikio, Ayibadeinyefa Efamughe, Amula Jacob and Evelyn Amieghaye.
The prosecutor, James Binang, told the court that the suspects operated a syndicate that issued counterfeit tax clearance certificates to unsuspecting members of the public.
Binang said that the accused issued forged tax clearance certificates to Seebemm International Limited and Kofabem International Limited and some individuals.
According to him, one of the victims of the syndicate’s illegal act, who presented a forged tax clearance certificate given to him by the accused to the British Embassy, was denied visa to the United Kingdom.
One of the victims of the alleged scam, Chief Emmanuel Emberru, called as witness by the prosecutor, told the court that he could not attend his daughter’s wedding in London because of a fake tax certificate issued to him by the accused.
Accounting to Emberru, it is so shocking that tax clearance certificate obtained from revenue officials turned out to be counterfeit.
He said: “It was so humiliating that I was denied visa and banned from re-applying for 10 years.
“I could not attend my daughter’s wedding in London so I decided to ensure that the officials were brought to book.”
Emberru is the traditional ruler of Kabowei community in the state.
The judge adjourned the case till Wednesday for continuation of hearing.