Football star and former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha yesterday said he was never contacted over his alleged failure to pay income tax before a Lagos court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Many local and international media reported the order by a Lagos High Court in Igbosere for Okocha’s arrest earlier in the week.
He was taken to court by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice on a three-count charge bordering on failure to furnish return of income.
But Okocha spoke for the first time yesterday when he told The Guardian in a telephone chat that he was never contacted by anybody regarding income taxes. “I only read about it on the pages of newspapers.
No one contacted me. As a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I know very well that nobody is above the law. But honestly speaking, I was never contacted by anybody on issues before the court order.”
The former Bolton of England midfielder, and member of Super Eagles squad to Tunisia ’94 and Atlanta ’96 Olympics, however hinted that the issue had been settled. “It has been settled, but I won’t be able to give you details,” he stated.
The Guardian recalls that the prosecutor, Dr. Jide Martins, had stated that he filed the charge on June 6, 2017, adding that the case came up for the first time on October 5, 2017 but the defendant (Okocha) did not appear in court.
It led to several adjournments before he urged the court to issue a bench warrant.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye has adjourned the case until April 15 for the execution of the bench warrant and further hearing.
Meanwhile, Okocha, regarded as one of the best African players of all time, has called on two ex-internationals, Edema Fuludu and Victor Ikpeba, and others involved in the chairmanship tussle for the Delta Football Association to apply wisdom. Okocha is the immediate past chairman of DFA.