15 April 2019

Nigeria: Again, Court Orders Jay Jay Okocha's Arrest

Photo: Premium Times
Jay Jay Okocha.

The Lagos High Court in Igbosere on Monday renewed the bench warrant ordering the arrest of former Super Eagles captain, Augustine Jay-Jay Okocha for alleged tax evasion.

Okocha - or Jay Jay Okocha as he is popularly known - has repeatedly failed to appear before the court to answer why he allegedly failed to pay his income taxes.

Adedayo Akintoye, the judge, issued the warrant for the arrest of the former Super Eagles captain on January 29 and, after that, adjourned until February 19.

However, on February 19, the prosecution had not carried out the arrest forcing the judge to, again, adjourn the matter till April 15. He ordered the warrant be executed by then.

Prosecution counsel Yusuf Sule told the judge that Okocha was yet to settle out of court, the 2017 income tax evasion charge.

Okocha, who was not in court, was not represented by any lawyer.

The government alleged that Okocha failed to appear in court since October 5, 2017, when the case first came up.

As reported by The Nation newspaper, at the resumption of proceedings Monday, Mr Sule said Mr Okocha had made contact with the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS).

He said: "The defendant (Okocha) is trying to settle, but he is yet to make any payment. In the circumstances, we will be asking for a further date."

Granting his application, Mr Akintoye ruled: "Bench Warrant is to continue against the defendant. Case adjourned till May 28, 2019, for further directions."

The government filed a three-count charge against Okocha on June 6, 2017, accusing him of:

"Failure to furnish return of income for tax purposes with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service contrary to Section 94 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (As Amended).

"Failure to pay income tax contrary to Section 56(a) and (b) of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law No. 8 of 2006.

"Failure to furnish return of Income for tax purposes with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service contrary to Section 94(1)of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (As Amended)."

The fresh call for Okocha's arrest is coming on the eve of his planned appearance in a celebrity match to herald the UEFA Champions League trophy tour in two cities in Nigeria.

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