By Adeola Oladele
Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has accused Jaykay Pharmacy, owned and managed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, of owing the state N1.6 million as unpaid land use charges.
Fashola described Agbaje as a serial tax defaulter. He had earlier accused the PDP candidate of being too old for the Lagos job at 57 years.
Fashola asked the electorate not to vote for Agbaje, saying “a serial tax defaulter will ruin the economy of our state”.
But Agbaje faulted the claims made by the governor that his company defaulted in the payment of the land use charge, saying he had even been commended for paying his Land Use Charge on time.
Fashola made the disclosure at the 8th Annual Lagos State taxation Stakeholders’ Conference held in Ikeja.
Fashola, who explained that Land Use Charge, LUC, was a consolidated tax combining ground rent and tenement rate, said: “Tax is prescribed by the 1999 constitution. It states that it shall be the duty of every citizen to declare its income to the appropriate and lawful agency; and pay the required tax promptly.”
The governor said: “You will remember that in 2007, he (Jimi Agbaje) claimed that he was in Democratic People’s Alliance, DPA and later crossed to PDP. You know that he (Agbaje) manages a pharmacy called Jaykay Pharmacy, located at 9, Randle Close, Apapa Local Government. His pharmacy has not paid Land Use Charge for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively; it amounts to N1, 629, 064.62.”
“Let us do that mathematics to see how many facilities the fund would have provided in our hospitals and stationery in our schools. But this was the same person who was complaining that the state government spent three per cent of its budget on Primary education. Local Government is responsible for the management of the primary schools and yet he has withheld their taxes.”
The governor declared that the pharmacy paid LUC in 2013 and 2014 because the management and the candidate of the PDP realized that the election would be holding in 2015.
He said: “I know that you have to vote next month but look at that candidate that would need to take over from me and be careful of who you vote for. This is the man who wants to be your next governor. I will advice you that you avoid deception and tax evaders.”
“The payment of tax is the first principle of the social contracts between the government and the citizens. It is an irreducible legal minimum of citizenship and breach of this responsibility is a criminal offence under our law.”