Lawyer turned businessman, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, has denied the story first published by Sahara Reporters that he was arrested and detained by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over N6.8 billion Air Nigeria allegedly owed it.
According to the Nation, He described the report as wicked, concocted and sheer imagination of the writer.
The businessman issued a statement yesterday after the story went viral online, saying the story, published by Sahara Report, was borne out of mischief and aimed at tarnishing his image.
Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim said he would have ignored the report but seeks to put the record straight.
This is what he had to say: “Our company, the NICON Group, purchased 48 per cent shares of Air Nigeria sometime in 2010 and the FIRS came with alleged tax liabilities for the period of 2006 to 2010.
“They claimed that he who buys assets buys the liabilities of the company. That was in 2012. We requested for reconciliation of the taxes, which was not conclusive.
“We closed down the airline and sold our shares to a commercial bank in Nigeria. Rather than pursue the new owner for the taxes, the FIRS instituted a civil suit against me at the Federal High Court.
“Whereas the same law of ‘who buys the assets, buys the liabilities’ should apply. This is why the FIRS should pursue the liability of Air Nigeria with the new owners.”
On his encounter with officials of the FIRS, Ibrahim said: “…The FIRS’ Enforcement Unit yesterday solicited my assistance about the new buyer. I opted to give them the full details and documents.
“Before I finished doing that, I read in Sahara Reporters that I had been arrested and detained for N6.8 billion fraud, which is not true.”
He further explained that before he gave the FIRS the details of the new owners of Air Nigeria, the agency had alleged that Air Nigeria procured tax papers in 2010 for expatriates.
“But I asked them how that concerned a board chairman. I asked them to ask the Executive Director (Finance), John Nnorom, whose responsibility falls under that”.
“We are genuine business people and we need a proper environment to operate our business. If I have committed any offence in becoming a non-executive chairman of a company like Air Nigeria where I do not have personal share, charge me to court and wait for the judgment of the court. If an officer of a corporation committed an offence, such as forgery of tax papers and it is true, look for the officer and charge him to court, not the board chairman of the corporation,” Jimoh concluded.