A Lagos High Court in Igbosere Thursday fixed October 10 to resume the trial of Nollywood actress and producer, Monalisa Chinda-Coker, for alleged tax evasion.
The trial should have resumed on Wednesday, June 5, but proceedings were stalled due to the Eid-Il-Fitr holiday.
Chinda-Coker is facing a two-count charge of failure to file annual tax returns and pay income tax in respect of her company, Monalisa Code Productions, for six years.
According to the charge, marked LD/5712c/2017, Monalisa Code Productions carries on its business from Lekki in Lagos.
Count one reads in part: “Failure to furnish and file annual tax returns for the purpose of personal income taxation with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) contrary to Section 94(1) of the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 (as amended).”
The particulars of the count stated that Coker “of Monalisa Code Productions, being a taxable person in Nigeria and carrying on business at… Lekki… failed to furnish and file tax returns on your personal income for the years 2011 to 2016.”
Count two reads: “Failure to pay income tax contrary to Section 56 of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law of 2006.”
At the last hearing of the matter on April 1, Justice Adedayo Akintoye renewed a bench warrant for Chinda-Coker’s arrest, following an application by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
The state alleged that Chinda-Coker repeatedly failed to honour a summons ordering her to appear in court for trial since the case began in 2017.
On March 5, the actress, in a statement through her lawyers, Emeka Odikpo & Associates, refuted allegations of tax evasion, adding that all businesses from which she earns income are based in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
The statement said: “Mrs Coker further states that it is only her foundation known as Arise Monalisa Foundation that is based in Lekki, Lagos. The said body is a non-profit organisation and thus does not pay tax by law.
“Mrs Coker states that sometime in 2016, when Lagos Inland Revenue Service, LIRS officials were dropping tax assessments around the premises of Arise Monalisa Foundation at Lekki, Lagos, they visited the premises and were told by the staff that only a non-profit organisation was operational there.
“They advised that even though the business is non-profit, the head of the outfit should pay some tax based on self-assessment.
“Based on the advice, she approached a bank and on self-assessment basis paid N100,000.00 for two years to the LIRS. She has also issued a tax card.
“Mrs Monalisa Coker hereby restates for emphasis that Rivers State Government is the appropriate body that she is compelled by law to make income tax returns to.
“She has therefore instructed her lawyers and Tax Consultants to approach Lagos State Inland Revenue Service with this information for necessary clearance.”