The Lagos State government has insisted that Jimi Agbaje, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, gubernatorial candidate, is owing tax arrears amounting to N1.6 million.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the state government said that Mr. Agbaje had failed to pay for Land Use Charge at his business premises at 9 Randle Close, Apapa, between 2009 and 2012.
“We consider it necessary to make a response to the rebuttal of Mr. Jimi Agbaje in some newspapers to the assertion by His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Governor of Lagos State on the subsisting default in Land Use Charge payment of N1,629,064.62 by JayKay Pharmacy Limited on the above mentioned property,” said the statement issued by Hakeem Bello, Special Adviser to the governor on Media.
“For clarity, the issue at hand has to do with Mr. Jimi Agbaje’s business premises at 9, Randle Close, Apapa and not 1, Bombay Crescent, Apapa GRA, for which he was commended.”
Last week, Governor Fashola and Mr. Agbaje traded accusations after the former accused the latter of tax evasion.
Speaking at the 8th Annual Stakeholder Taxation Conference in Lagos, last Wednesday, the governor had branded the PDP candidate a “tax evader” who only paid his Land Charges for 2013 and 2014 as a result of the forthcoming election.
Mr. Agbaje’s camp responded swiftly by publishing a letter of commendation from the Lagos State government to their candidate stating that its payments’ records review from 2011 showed that he had been consistent with the payment of Land Use Charge.
“The Lagos State Government wishes to express its appreciation to you on your consistent fulfilment of your civic responsibility and your singular contribution towards the development of the state,” read the letter signed by Ayo Gbeleyi, the state Finance Commissioner.
But Mr. Bello, in his statement, said that Mr. Gbeleyi’s letter was in respect of No. 1, Bombay Crescent, Apapa GRA, and not No. 9, Randle Close which hosts JayKay Pharmacy.
“The Land Use Charge on the business premises of JK Pharmacy at 9, Randle Close, Apapa, was not paid for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012,” said Mr. Bello.
“As Governor Fashola acknowledged, payment was made for 2013 and 2014 on 9, Randle Close, Apapa, perhaps in preparation for the election.
“The payments for 2009 to 2012 remain outstanding and unpaid and those monies go to the Local Governments to fund primary education and primary Healthcare.
“The amount due and unpaid is N1,629,064.62. The only way this debt owed to the people of Lagos will go away is if it is paid.”
In his response last Thursday, Mr. Agbaje said although he founded JayKay Pharmaceutical, he ceased being a director in the company since 2006. He also said he stopped becoming involved in the running of the company since that date.