By Martins Odeh
Abuja – Pinnacle Communications, a digital switch-over operator on Wednesday said Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Crimes (ICPC) misled the public with claims that the firm was evading tax payment.
Mr Abayomi Oyelola, the Legal Adviser and Solicitor of the firm said this in a statement in Abuja.
“For the record, Pinnacle Communication is not a tax defaulter in any way.
“The company’s tax papers are up to date. This is easy for the commission to verify. So ICPC lied by claiming that its men were at Pinnacle’s office on tax issue’’ he said.
Oyelola said: “ICPC also claimed the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) transmitted plots 1718 and 1719 Cadzone A04, belonging to two companies mentioned, to them for investigation’’.
According to him, the Pinnacle office invaded is on neither of the two plots quoted as the firm’s office is on Plot 1721.
“The above shows that the plot on which the Pinnacle office is, which ICPC invaded, was not on the list sent to the commission by FIRS or FCTA for investigation.
“It is crystal clear that the commission’s operatives did not stumble on the firm’s property as claimed but rather the operatives intentionally invaded Pinnacle’’, Oyelola said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the ICPC operatives on Jan.15 made attempt to seal the Asokoro premises of the firm without any warrant or order of court.
The alleged unlawful action of the operatives of the anti-graft body compelled Pinnacle communications to ask the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Malami Abubakar SAN, to investigate the incident.
NAN reports that ICPC had on Jan.24 claimed that the action was precipitated by the requests of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to the commission to investigate a case of tax evasion it alleged against the firm.
Oyelola, however, said that ICPC’s claims in its responses to Pinnacle communications’ outcry of injustice were grossly inaccurate, misleading and aimed to hurt the impeccable image of the company known to all and sundry.
“The law firm that handles Pinnacle’s correspondences with the agency has since sent a formal response to ICPC.
“Pinnacle noted the futile attempt of the anti-corruption outfit at spreading the falsehood contained in its reply in the public space, hence this press statement to set records straight.
“Since the companies marked for allegedly evading taxes mentioned in the ICPC responses are different from Pinnacle and plots quoted different from that of Pinnacle, there was no reason for the operatives to violently insist to effect an arrest and seal the firm.
“Even if their so-called coordinate was correct, the brazen action at that point would still amount to acting ultra vires.
“In any event, it is vitally imperative to state that Pinnacle communications, in whom ownership of the premises invaded by ICPC is vested is not on the radar of FIRS’’, he said.
Oyelola further that said that: “ICPC further lied in the response that the Counsel who addressed the Press accosted their operatives on the day of the unlawful invasion’’.
“ For the record, Mr Abayomi Oyelola mni, who addressed the press conference was not in Nigeria on the day of the invasion.
“ As a matter of fact, he returned to Nigeria from London via BA 083 flight, the same day he addressed the press conference. This too can be verified.
“Pinnacle Communications is both a respectable and humble entity with strong beliefs in the assuaging power and effect of an apology from anyone and entity that has disparaged it.
“We, therefore, encourage the commission, since it has admitted the invasion to swallow the proverbial humble pie and tender an apology as Pinnacle Communications demands’’, Oyelola said.
He, however, explained that the agency should allow the firm’s wise counsel prevail in order to avoid unnecessary and costly litigation which could ensue.
NAN reports that Pinnacle communications gained prominence in 2014, when it won the bid as private signal distributor in the country’s digitalisation process.