BOMBSHELL : THE EIGHT LIES (FALSE INFORMATION) FOUND ON THE TAX PAPERS OF DR. OKEZIE IKPEAZU THAT CAUSED HIS SACK

On the 27th of June, 2016 Hon. Justice Okon Abang delivered his judgment in the case involving Dr. Uche Sampson Ogah Vs. Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu & 3 ORS in which the Court found out several false information on the tax papers filed in by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and ordered him to vacate his seat in accordance with the law and precedents. The same Court ordered Dr. Uche Sampson Ogah who is the qualified candidate of PDP to be sworn in as the Governor of Abia State.

 

Since then, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has refused to vacate his seat using all manner of tactics and arm-twisting measures. The whole world is watching. Read the findings of the learned judge:

 

“Now the crux of this matter which I will soon resolve is the issue raised by the Plaintiff that the 2nd Defendant was not qualified based on 2014 People’s Democratic Party’s Electoral Guidelines to contest the said primary. That INEC Form CF001 and documents he submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission contain false information which by virtue of Section 31(5 & 6) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended he is not qualified to contest the said primary election.

 

The Plaintiff further contended that Form CF001 deposed to by the 2nd Defendant with attached documents submitted by him and the 1st Defendant to the 3rd Defendant contain false information.

 

That by virtue of Section 31 (6) of Electoral Act that where the Court determines that any of the information contained in the Form CF001 or any document submitted by the 2nd Defendant is false. That the Court shall make an Order, disqualifying the candidate from contesting the said primary election.

 

The Plaintiff also contends that having not been qualified to contest the said primary election on 8th December, 2014 that the votes cast for the 2nd Defendant are wasted votes. That they are null and void and to no effect. That in the circumstances, that the 2nd Defendant did not win the People’s Democratic Party’s primary election. That the Plaintiff won the election.

 

My Lord, this is the moment of truth.

My Lord, the issue in this matter has been narrowed down. My duty in this judgment today is to look at Form CF001 sworn to by the 2nd Defendant and documents attached to therein (Exhibit H) and determine whether any of the information contained in Form CF001 or any document submitted by the 2nd Defendant to 3rd Defendant is false then the Court shall issue an Order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the election. Put differently, my Lord, the Court is enjoined by Section 31 (5) of Electoral Act as amended to look at Plaintiff’s Exhibit A to H ex facie and find out whether the information contained in the said documents submitted to INEC by the 1st and 2nd Defendants are correct or false.

 

In my humble view, this exercise stated above has nothing to do with forgery of these documents as alleged y the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants or making of false documents under the Criminal Code or Penal Code.

 

My Lord, the issue before the Court arising from the claims of the Plaintiff in my humble view is not whether the tax receipts were forged by the 2nd Defendant or whether the maker of the tax receipts and tax clearance had criminal intention, far from it. The Plaintiff from the depositions in Affidavit in Support of Originating Summons did not allege forgery of these documents. Therefore it is in appropriate in my view for the 1st to 3rd Defendants to rely on a claim of forgery and false documents and the meaning attached thereto in the judicial authorities cited by them and definition of the offence under the Criminal Code and Penal Code. With the greatest respect to the learned Senior Counsel for the 2nd Defendant A. A. Awomolo (SAN), the authorities cited by him relating to what is a forged document or false document, alteration of documents or making of false documents are irrelevant since the issue before the Court has nothing to do with forgery of the tax documents or any related Criminal Act or Conduct. The case of IMAM VS. SHERIFF supra relied upon by him was cited out of context. The nature of document to be false under Section 31 (5) of the Electoral Act was not the issue in that matter. Therefore, it does not require in my view ordering of pleadings or requiring the Plaintiff to prove the allegation beyond reasonable doubt. The issue here is simple and straight forward, whether there is any false information contained in the documents submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission by the 2nd Defendant. The contention of the Defendants as regard whether the documents were forged is not the requirement of Section 31 (5) of the Electoral Act.

 

For the upteempth time, the issue before the Court is whether on the face of these documents, information in Exhibits A to D and H of the Plaintiff’s Affidavit are correct or false no more, no less.

 

In order to establish whether or not information Exhibits A to D and H contain false information and as argued by the parties, reference is hereby made to the Plaintiff’s Affidavit in Support, the Plaintiff’s further Affidavit, the 1st and 2nd Defendants’ Counter Affidavit Dated 2nd October, 2015 and the 2nd Defendants with attached documents submitted by him to Independent National Electoral Commission contain false information.

 

The false information can be found in the 2nd Defendant’s 2011 tax receipt which is Plaintiff’s Exhibit A and 2nd Defendant’s Exhibit OK6.

 

Reference is made to the 2nd Defendant’s Exhibit OK1 which is his appointment letter as General Manager Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest Scheme with effect from 18th July, 2011 with amount payable as salary, allowances/entitlements clearly spelt out.

 

Going by the 2nd Defendant’s appointment letter Exhibit OK1, the 2nd Defendant worked for Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest Scheme for 5 months 12 days in 2011.

 

The earnings of the 2nd Defendant based on the letter of appointment in 2011 for 5 months and 12 days by simple calculation is #493,128.00 that if he is assigned Government vehicle or #546,609.00 if not assigned any Government vehicle. The tax receipt or tax clearance exhibited by 2nd Defendant Exhibit OK6 and Exhibit OK8 did not reflect these figures. That is not all.

 

However, the Plaintiff’s Exhibit A which is the 2nd Defendant’s Exhibit OK6 is that the tax receipt for 2011 indicates that the gross emolument or earnings of the 2nd Defendant Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for 2011 is #1,135,476.00 and his income tax was assessed on this figure for 2011.

 

My view here is that the 2nd Defendant’s gross emolument (earnings) for 2011 does not correspond with the period the 2nd Defendant worked for Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest Scheme in 2011. In 2011, the 2nd Defendant was paid the sum of #1,135,467.00 for working for 5 months and 12 days that is in 2011, the 2nd Defendant actually received 12 months salary which he worked for only 5 months and 12 days.

 

Put differently, the 2nd Defendant gave false information in his Exhibit OK6 that his gross emolument for 2011 is #1,135,476.00.

 

The correct gross emolument for 2011 having regard to salary and allowances that he earned for 5 months and 12 days in 2011 ought to be #493,128.00 or #546,619 (if not assigned any government vehicle). The information that he earned #1,135,476.00 in 2011 is false. It is not possible that the 2nd Defendant earned that amount having worked for 5 months and 12 days in 2011 taking into consideration what he was supposed to earn as salary, allowances and entitlements as per appointment letter Exhibit OK1. This has nothing to do with forgery but giving false information to Independent National Electoral Commission.

 

Second false information. The date of 31st December, 2011 in 2011 tax receipt with Serial No. 0012849 is a Saturday. Saturday is not a working day even in Abia State. Ministers, Public bodies such as Abia State Board of Internal Revenue do not work on a Saturday. It is none working day.

 

This is another false information given in the documents the 2nd Defendant submitted to the 3rd Defendant.

 

Third false information. The Serial No. 0012849 of the 2nd Defendant’s 2011 tax receipt came first for a tax receipt purportedly issued on a Saturday on 31st  December, 2011 before the tax receipt No. 0012846 of 2012, 31st December was issued. See Plaintiff’s Exhibit B which is the 2nd defendant Exhibit OK3. The tax receipt for year 2013 with Serial No. 0012847 was earlier in time before the 2nd Defendant obtained tax receipt for 2011. See Plaintiff’s Exhibit C which is also the 2nd Defendant’s Exhibit OK4. Plaintiff’s Exhibit A, B, C being also the 2nd Defendant’s Exhibits OK6, OK3 and OK4 contain false information. Using the same booklet to issue tax receipt for 2011 ought to have been first in time before the serial number of the tax receipt of 2nd Defendant for 2012 and 2013. However in this case, it is the serial number of the 2nd Defendant’s tax receipt for 2012 and 2013 that came first. The information contain therein in those documents are false under Section 31 (5) of the Electoral Act. This has nothing to do with forgery.

 

The 2nd Defendant claimed in his defence that Exhibit OK2 was issued in error and that explained why his Exhibit OK6 was later in time that is 2011 tax receipt. The fact of the 2nd Defendant’s explanation here is an admission against interest that indeed the earlier 2011 tax receipt contains false information.

 

My Lord, if indeed the 2nd Defendant Exhibit OK2 was issued in error and known to the 2nd Defendant, the 2nd Defendant ought to have explained this to Independent National Electoral Commission when Form CF001 with attached documents were returned to Independent National Electoral Commission on 26th December, 2014. This would have shown good faith on the part of 2nd Defendant. He waited till when the issue was raised by the Plaintiff. Since 2nd Defendant did not submit his Exhibit OK2 to Independent National Electoral Commission alongside with Form CF001, the Court is only bound to examine documents attached to Form CF001 and forwarded to Independent National Electoral Commission to see if they contain false information and not documents not forming part of the documents attached to Form CF001. Therefore, the defence of the 2nd Defendant on this issue has not discharged the burden placed on him by Supreme Court in the case of EKAGBARA VS. IKPEAZU supra to prove that the documents he submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission do not contain false information.

 

The defence of the 2nd Defendant here is an after-thought. What was cancelled does not form part of the records of Independent National Electoral Commission. It is an admission against interest. It is my view that any other fact coming as justification or correction, addition different from what was submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission abinitio in Form CF001 makes the case of the Plaintiff and it is a confirmation or admission that what was submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission was false.

 

The fourth false information given by the 2nd Defendant and submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission is that the amount paid as tax in the tax receipts in Exhibit A, B, and C is different from the amount paid as tax in the tax clearance certificate Exhibit D. put differently, the claim of payment of income tax for 2011, 2012 and 2013 is not true, it is false.

 

I have already discusses in this judgment that the sum of #1,135,476.00 is the 2nd Defendant’s gross emolument (total income) for the year 2011. That out of that amount the 2nd Defendant paid the sum of #166,145.20 as tax for that year and this does not represent what the 2nd Defendant ought to have earned for 5 months 12 days having been employed on 19th July, 2011 to take effect from 18th July, 2011 by Abia State Passengers Integrated and Safety Scheme. Exhibit D which is the tax clearance certificate of the 2nd Defendant indicates in the 2013 column that he paid personal income tax of #75,017.76 whilst Exhibit C the 2nd Defendant’s tax receipt for 2013 with serial no. 0012847 dated 31st December, 2013 indicates that the 2nd Defendant paid #38,775.00. The amount in the 2013 tax receipt for 2013 should be the same amount in the column for 2013 tax in the tax clearance certificate. This is another false information that 2nd Defendant submitted to the 3rd Defendant in his tax clearance certificate Exhibit D.

 

In the 2nd Defendant attempts to show that the amount stated in the tax clearance for year 2013 is genuine and not false, he made reference to his Exhibit OK4 and OK5 and sub-paragraphs 11 and 12 of paragraph 3 of his further Counter Affidavit dated 16th March, 2016 to the effect that the amount in the sum of #75,017.76 shown in the 2013 column of tax clearance certificate is the sum total of taxes paid by him from his employment in two agencies in 2013 i.e. for Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest and Safety scheme and other from Abia State Environmental Protection Agency. That according to the 2nd Defendant accounts for the receipt No. 0012847 of 31st December, 2013 and receipt No. 0012848 of 31st December, 2013.

 

My Lord, if indeed it is true that the entry of personal income tax of the 2nd Defendant in the tax clearance certificate for 2013 represents payment of taxes by the 2nd Defendant when he served in two agencies in 2013, the 2nd Defendant ought to have made this explanation to Independent National Electoral Commission when he filled and submitted Form CF001 to Independent National Electoral Commission.

 

This is so because the 2nd Defendant Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu on 22nd December, 2014 declared on Oath in Form CF001 that all answers and particulars he has given in Form CF001 are true and correct and that he has fulfilled all requirements for qualification into office he is seeking to be elected. He signed and the Commissioner for Oath also signed.

 

The 2nd Defendant submitted income tax receipt for 2013 and indicated that he paid #38,775.00. the entry of #38,775.00 should also have been reflected as such in the tax clearance certificate Exhibit D. i.e. the amount stated as income tax in 2013 income tax receipt should have been the same amount stated in 2013 column in the tax clearance certificate Exhibit D. it is my humble view that the 2nd Defendant provided false information in the tax clearance certificate Exhibit D where the figure was changed from #38,775.00 to #75,017.76.

 

2nd Defendant signed Form CF001 himself, nobody signed for him. It is the document he submitted to 3rd Defendant. The 2nd Defendant has not pleaded non est factum – meaning not my deed. There is no evidence before the Court indicating that the 2nd Defendant was of unsound mind when he signed Form CF001. If indeed the figure in Exhibit D for 2013 tax receipt represents payment of income tax for the two agencies of Abia State Government, then the 2nd Defendant ought to have explained this in a Further Affidavit to Independent National Electoral Commission. Producing Exhibit OK5 now that did not form part of the documents submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission is an after-thought designed to cover false information given by the 2nd Defendant to Independent National Electoral Commission. He cannot be allowed to use extraneous documents not forming part of the documents he submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission earlier to establish that the facts contained in Exhibits A, B, C, D & H are correct , true and genuine.

 

The fifth information given by 2nd Defendant to Independent National Electoral Commission that is false can be seen in Exhibit A. that is 2011 tax receipt. The 2nd Defendant tax  payment for 2011 was made for the period 1st January, 2011 to 31st December, 2011 see the Plaintiff’s Exhibit A and 2nd Defendant’s Exhibit OK6. The false information given by the 2nd Defendant here is that he stated paying income tax to Abia State Passengers Integrated and Safety Scheme before his employment on 19th July, 2011 that took effect from 18th July, 2011. This is also false. A person cannot pay tax for a period he did not work. This is false information and has nothing to do with forgery.

 

The sixth false information given by the 2nd Defendant to Independent National Electoral Commission here is also apparent in Exhibit D tax clearance certificate. It is also the 2nd Defendant Exhibit OK8. Exhibit D and OK8, it is clear in 2011 that the 2nd Defendant gross emolument (earning) is #1,135,476.00. That is, he only worked for his employer for 5 months 12 days in 2011 and he paid #166,145.20 as tax, while he earned the same amount in 2012 that he worked for the whole year of 12 months, he paid a lesser amount of #66,000.00. This is a false information to the extent that the 2nd Defendant could not have paid a higher amount. In 2011, that he worked for 5 months and 12 days only for him to pay lesser amount for the same gross emolument when he worked for 12 months. No person that is employed by an agency of Government can pay tax for a period he did not work or for a period he is not yet employed. It is my view that any iota of information submitted to the 3rd Defendant by the 2nd Defendant that is false is sufficient to disqualify the 2nd Defendant from contesting the People’s Democratic Party’s primary election held on 8th December 2014.

 

My Lord, the documents claimed by the 2nd Defendant to be tax receipts and tax clearance are irregular and confirm false information as submitted to the 3rd Defendant Independent National Electoral Commission by the 1st and 2nd Defendants and accompanying Form CF001.

 

Reference is hereby made to paragraph 4 (IV & V) of the 2nd Defendant’s Further Counter Affidavit dated 16th March , 2016 that he claimed he played no role on how and when his tax is paid within the period of his employment or how and when taxes are paid within the period of his employment as regard reduction and remittance of his tax between his employers and Abia State Internal Revenue Service, rather I agree with the Plaintiff that it was the 2nd Defendant that supplied all information in the relevant form before the tax receipts and tax clearance certificate were issued by Abia State Internal Revenue . As stated in the extant laws regarding payment of taxes by taxable adult, tax receipts are issued monthly. If a taxable adult is employed by agency of Government, whether Federal or State, the monthly pay slip or pay advice will show much is deducted as tax monthly from the 2nd Defendant’s salary. Contrary to the facts stated by the 2nd Defendant in the Further Counter Affidavit, tax receipts and tax clearance certificates are dated the day or date they are issued or signed not on 31st December of each year. The issue here is that, the act of giving false information must relate to the act of the 2nd Defendant. It is not in dispute that he submitted the documents to Independent National Electoral Commission.

 

The seventh false information given by the 2nd Defendant to Independent National Electoral Commission is that he failed to pay his tax for three preceding years that is 2011, 2012 and 2013 as when due before the People’s Democratic Party held its primary election on 8th December, 2014. The Plaintiff’s Exhibit D and the 2nd Defendant’s Exhibit OK8 is not the 2nd Defendant’s income tax clearance known to law.

 

It is also my view my Lord, that the 2nd Defendant did not produce his personal income tax certificate nor any evidence to show that he paid his income tax for the last preceding three years before the People’s Democratic Party’s primary election took place on 8th December, 2014.

 

The income tax pay as you earn receipts exhibited Exhibits A, B, C as well as tax clearance of the 2nd Defendant Exhibit D the serial number on the receipts clearly show that they were issued the same day. The income tax receipt of the 2nd Defendant 2011 was even issued on a Saturday. This is also a false information as it is expected that no office opened for business on a Saturday. Payment of tax was made in 2012 before payment of tax was made in 2011. The 2nd Defendant has a not proved that the information contained in Exhibits A, B, C & D are genuine true and not false.

 

The income tax receipts Exhibits A, B, C show that the 2nd Defendant did not pay his tax when due for the preceding years 2011, 2012 and 2013 to qualify him for tax clearance certificate in 2014. The 2nd Defendant claimed to be a public servant not a political appointee and that he received his salary monthly.

 

The 2nd Defendant ought to have forwarded the monthly pay slip or pay advice to Independent National Electoral Commission to show that he paid his tax as and when due. If as contended by him that he is a public servant or civil servant which is in doubt, then the information in the Plaintiff’s Exhibits A to D cannot be correct. It is a false information because the 2nd Defendant paid his tax for the preceding three years on 4th July, 2014. In line with the decision in LANTOS VS. WOWO supra, if indeed the 2nd Defendant tax was deducted as and when due, there should have been evidence of deduction of monthly tax as and when due. Exhibits A, B, C do show that the tax was paid on 4th July, 2014 for the three years.

 

The 2nd Defendant cannot submit documents to and with false information, inaccurate and inconsistent facts and figures and then claim that the documents are his tax clearance certificate and evidence or payment of income tax 2011, 2012 and 2013. These documents cannot survive a minute longer. They have to be struck down today because they contain false information.

 

It is my view that Exhibit D or Exhibit OK8 is not the 2nd Defendant’s tax clearance certificate known to law. Exhibits A, B, C or Exhibits OK6, OK3 and OK4 are not the 2nd Defendant’s income tax receipts for 2011, 2012 and 2013 known to law. Therefore, Exhibits D and C are hereby set aside and accordingly nullified. I so hold.

 

My Lord, it is my view that the 1st Defendant and 2nd Defendants having not submitted to and tax   receipts for 2011, 2012 and 2013 known to law or tax papers showing payments of income tax to Abia State Board of Internal Revenue as and when due and the 1st & 2nd Defendants having not submitted to and the 2nd Defendant’s tax clearance certificate known to law, the 2nd Defendant was not qualified to contest the People’s Democratic Party’s primary to elect or nominate a candidate under People’s Democratic Party platform to contest for the office of the Governor of Abia State of Nigeria in line with Article and 14 (a) of People’s Democratic Party’s Electoral Guidelines 2014 which provides –

Article 14 –

“An aspirant to the gubernatorial primary election shall not be qualified to be nominated or contest the primary election if he/she;

 

Article 14 (A) –

fails to produce his personal income tax certificate or any evidence that he has paid his income tax for the preceding years or evidence of exemption from payment of personal income tax”

 

My Lord, having held in this judgment that the information contained in the documents attached to Form CF001 submitted by 1st and 2nd Defendants to Independent National Electoral Commission are false and having regard to the provisions of Section 31 (6) of Electoral Act 2010 as amended, an Order is hereby made disqualifying the 2nd Defendant Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as the candidate of People’s Democratic Part for 2015 general election to the office of Governor of Abia State of Nigeria. I so hold.”

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