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Tax evasion: Trial of Rep suffers setback

The trial of the APC law-maker representing Etsako Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Philip Shaibu, at the Edo State High Court, for alleged tax evasion, on Wednesday, suffered a setback as the ill health of the prosecuting witness from the Edo State Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), stalled the court proceeding. The court has, therefore, adjourned to July 14.

The Edo State High Court, presided over by Justice Esther Ikponmwmen, in Benin City, granted the plea for adjournment by the witness supported by the two parties – the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Crimes Commission (ICPC) and counsel to the accused, Ken Mozia (SAN).

Shaibu was alleged by ICPC to have, in November 2006, lied to officers of the Edo State Board of Internal Revenue that he was an employee of a firm, Zaknote Nigeria Ventures Limited from 2003 to 2006 and fraudulently obtained a tax clearance certificate from the revenue board.

He is facing a six-count charge instituted against him by the ICPC for alleged forgery of his tax documents in 2006, while contesting for Etsako Constituency 2 seat in the State House of Assembly.

The case, which had been ongoing since 2013 before Justice Esther Edigin of the Benin High Court, was, however, reassigned to Justice Esther Ikponmwen, after the former withdrew from the case.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel to ICPC, G. O. Igbadumhe, and Mozia were in court only for the prosecuting witness late arrival and subsequent plea that he could not stand in the witness box following his ill-health  distorted the court proceeding.

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