The Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue, yesterday, sealed eight banks with a combined number of 36 network branches in the state, for failing to remit over N1billion withholding tax. The state government said the banks had owed the state since 2007. Chairman of the state Board of Internal Revenue, Mr. Emeka Odo, who briefed newsmen shortly after the enforcement of the seals said the state exhausted dialogue with the banks before the enforcement. Some bank staff were, however, suprised at seeing their premises sealed, saying they were not given notice. One of the bankers, however, said she saw the notice only once and forwarded it to their head office and was waiting for action on it before the enforcement came. Odo, however, said the banks will remain under lock and key until they remit the taxes collected. He said: “We wrote to them earlier but they were defiant. We can no longer allow the banks behave like corporate oulaws. They have no business holding on to the taxes they collect on behalf of the government. The government need the money to deliver on its campaign promises.” Witholding tax is the 10 percent charge that banks collect from depositors which Odo said belongs to government. “They have held on to the money since 2007 and we have held meetings with them but they failed to comply. This is the first time this kind of exercise is taking place in Enugu State and they will pay all the money even to the last kobo,” said Odo. He noted that the government considered the impact the seals will have on the populace and even the banks, but that other banks not affected are working, adding that people could use those banks that are operational untill the defaulters comply and their premises get unsealed. “We had earlier served them notice and we gave them final demand notice before we went to court to obtain the exparte order, “ said Odo.