Senator Akume denies owning hotel in Makurdi

A member of the National Assembly, Senator George Akume, on Sunday, denied owning a hotel, which was recently sealed off by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for tax evasion in Makurdi, Benue State.

This was contained in a  statement issued and signed by his Special Adviser, Mrs Becky Orpin, a copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja.

It  said it was an independent action-oriented non-governmental organisation (NGO), which Senator Akume, given his humanitarian disposition to the disadvantaged members of society, only identified with the ideals for which the hotel was incorporated.

The statement added that the hotel, which was incorporated in 2002, with a Board of Directors, was a charitable non-profit foundation that took care of widows, orphans and the physically-challenged in the state, saying it also fed and provided homes and workable skills to the underprivileged and awarded scholarships to indigent students.

“However, the hotel will work co-operatively with the FIRS to resolve this issue professionally. We believe that the reason will soon prevail and the hotel will be re-opened; to continue generating revenues to support humanitarian endeavours.

“Apart from taking care of the underserved in Benue State, HAF Haven Hotel is a law-abiding corporate body that diligently adheres to tax regulations. We have not defaulted on payments as we have always endeavoured to make minimum payments. For instance, between 2011 to 2014, HAF Haven Hotel has paid a cumulative N1.1 million in taxes and N745, 000, full payment, for the year 2014/15.”

 

 

 

 

“Currently, HAF Haven Hotel has a minor dispute with the FIRS over tax assessments carried out on the hotel. Our auditors detected duplications in the assessments and the Tax Comptroller in Makurdi, Benue State, was alerted”, the statement added.

The statement reads in part: Our attention has been drawn to an inaccurate publication widely carried in some newspapers dated August 19th 2016, stating that Hope Alive Foundation (HAF) Haven Hotel is owned by Senator George Akume.

We wish to make it abundantly clear that HAF Haven Hotel is NOT owned by Senator Akume. HAF Haven Hotel is owned by Hope Alive Foundation (HAF): an independent action oriented Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

It was incorporated in 2002 with a Board of Directors. Senator Akume, given his humanitarian disposition to the disadvantaged members of society, only identifies with the ideals for which HAF was incorporated.

Hope Alive Foundation is a charitable non-profit foundation that takes care of widows, orphans and the physically challenged in Benue State. It feeds and provides homes and workable skills to the underprivileged, and awards scholarships to indigent students.

Unlike most foundations that rely on donations, HAF funds its own humanitarian activities through the revenue generated from such ventures as HAF Haven Hotel. Therefore, the hotel is definitively NOT the property of Senator Akume but of HAF.

Apart from taking care of the underserved in Benue State, HAF Haven Hotel is a law abiding corporate body that diligently adheres to tax regulations. We have not defaulted on payments as we have always endeavoured to make minimum payments. For instance, between 2011 to 2014, HAF Haven Hotel has paid a cumulative N1.1 million in taxes and N745, 000, full payment, for the year 2014/15.

Currently, HAF Haven Hotel has a minor dispute with the FIRS over tax assessments carried out on the hotel. Our auditors detected duplications in the assessments and the Tax Comptroller in Makurdi, Benue State, was alerted.

Unfortunately, the issues raised by HAF Haven Hotel were yet to be resolved by the Comptroller, when a team from the headquarters of the FIRS swooped in and summarily closed down the hotel, without listening to HAF’s petition.

However, HAF Haven Hotel will work co-operatively with the FIRS to resolve this issue professionally. We believe that reason will soon prevail and the hotel will be re-opened; to continue generating revenues to support HAF’s humanitarian endeavours.