The Rivers State government has sealed-off the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt over alleged N1.8 billion tax evasion.

This is the second time that the NDDC office would be shut in about three months.

The action was carried out by officials of state Internal Revenue Board’s enforcement team.

The revenue agency it was gathered had obtained a court order to carry out the exercise, which prevented NDDC’s workers and contractors from gaining access to its headquarters on the Port Harcourt-Aba highway.

The state revenue officials said they were forced to barricade the premises of the commission following the refusal of its management to clear all relevant taxes owed.

Meanwhile, the RIRS Director, Manson Endeboh, conceded that the commission had made some payments but that it came after they approached the court for an exparte order to seal the office.

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Reacting to the development, the management of the commission expressed dismay over the disruption of its activities.

Speaking on behalf of the NDDC Managing Director, Nsima Ekere, the Special Assistant on Media, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, said the commission is surprised by the development.

Amu-Nnadi explained: “About two weeks ago, the commission met with the tax enforcement team and started negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues.

“We understand that there is a court order but it’s important for us to state that the commission, as a responsible corporate organisation, had begun to attend to all obligations as agreed.

“Last week, the commission paid the first tranche. They will receive the next tranche this week. This is a sign of goodwill and commitment on the side of the commission to meet these obligations.

Amu-Nnadi expressed dismay at the actions of the RIRS officials describing the block of the premises of the commission as an unnecessary embarrassment.

“And mind you, over the past two years, the current board has paid all the commission’s tax obligations as at when due”

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