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JUDICIARY

Tribunal Orders AEDC to Pay N5.3bn Tax Liability for 4 Years 

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The Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Ltd to pay the cumulative sum of N5.3 billion as value added tax (VAT) and withholding tax liability for the period  between 2013 and 2017.

The five tax appeal commissioners, chaired by Hon.

Alice Iriogbe in a judgment, held that the assessment of the  VAT made by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on the company was valid and in accordance with the Value Added Tax Act (VATA).

reports that the appellant, AEDC, had, in the appeal marked: TAT/ABJ/330/2024, sued the FIRS as sole respondent.

The FIRS, in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had, in 2018, conducted a tax investigation on the appellant for the 2013-2017 years of assessment (YOA).

At the end of the investigation, a tax liability of N20, 163,668,697.00 (twenty billion, one hundred and sixty-three million, six hundred and sixty eight thousand, six hundred and ninety seven naira only) was established against the company.

The FIRS, therefore, conveyed the liability for the period to the AEDC vide a letter dated Sept. 21, 2018 but KPMG, on behalf of the company, was said to have objected to the assessments through a letter dated Nov. 1, 2018.

The company on Nov. 20, 2019, also appointed a consortium: Messrs Ascension Consulting Services Consortium authorised to reconcile its VAT matters in the ongoing tax investigation with the FIRS and EFCC.

In the said letter, it was stated that the reason for the appointment was because they handled the compliance aspect of the work and now “expressly authorised to discuss and conclude the matter.”

The tribunal, however, observed that during the oral testimony of the AEDC’s witness, Mr Martins Aroge, it was clear that KPMG (another tax consultant) was mandated to reconcile the appellant’s Withholding Tax (WHT) liability matters.

The FIRS, while giving its evidence, argued that the appellant, through its agents; Ascension Consulting Consortium and KPMG, held several reconciliation meetings with the respondent (FIRS) and came up with N4, 534,358,874.00 revised computations as their own reconciled liabilities for the company and N780, 307,078.00 as withholding tax (totalling N5, 314, 665, 952) through two letters dated March 24, 2021 and Sept. 10, 2021.

But the AEDC, dissatisfied with the assessment contained in the FIRS’ Notice of Refusal to Amend (NORA) dated Feb. 24, 2022, appealed against the federal agency’s decision.

Giving a three-ground of appeal, the electricity firm said the FIRS was wrong to have assessed the tax on the basis of an unauthorised representation by its agent and to have issued a VAT assessment of over N4.53 billion on the basis of a purported letter, instead of relying on the legal basis of the VAT Act, among others.

Delivering the judgement, the five-member panel held that the AEDC was bound by the action of its agents; Ascension Consulting Services Consortium (comprising of Ascension Consulting Services, TBS Professional Services and The Eminent Konsult) appointed to act on its behalf for reconciliation of VAT in respect of the tax investigation/reconciliation exercise.

“This honourable tribunal, therefore, compels the appellant to pay N4,534,358,874.00 (four billion, five hundred and thirty -four million, three hundred and fifty -eight thousand, eight hundred and seventy — four naira) only as VAT liability for 2013 – 2017 as contained in the Notice of Refusal to Amend (NORA) to the respondent (FIRS) forthwith.

“This honourable tribunal compels the appellant to pay the sum N780,307,078.00 (seven hundred and eighty million, three hundred and seventy-eight naira) only as withholding tax (WHT) liability for 2013 and 2016 as established by its consultant KPMG,” it ordered.

The tribunal also compelled AEDC to pay the sum of N100.000 pending cost awarded in favour of the FIRS in the course of the proceeding.

According to the tribunal, the appellant is also liable to interest on the judgement sum at the prevailing CBN rediscount rate from the date of judgement until the judgement debt is liquidated.

“This is the judgement of this honourable tribunal,” it declared.

Reports says that other members of the tribunal include Hon Ishola Akintoye, Hon Ajayi Julius-Bamidele, Hon Nasir Kuliya and Hon Almustapha Aliyu.(NAN)

JUDICIARY

Court Gives DSS go-ahead to Detain Nigerian Link to ISIS for 60 Days

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, granted an interim order sought by the Department of State Service (DSS) to detain Emmanuel Osase, a Nigerian suspected to be a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for 60 days.

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order after counsel for the DSS, A.

A. Ugee, moved the ex-parte motion to the effect.

When the matter was called, Ugee informed the court of the application.

He said the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/409/2024 was brought pursuant to Section 66(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.

He prayed the court for an order enabling the security outfit to detain Osase for 60 days pending the conclusion of the investigation.

Justice Ekwo, who granted the application, adjourned until June 3 for report

Reports says that Osase, who was arrested on March 11, was accused of propagating the messages of the terrorist group, opposing democratic system of government in Nigeria and calling for terrorists attacks on Nigeria and it symbols of sovereignty.

In affidavit dated March 27 and deposed to by Ahmad Abubakar, a DSS operative, attached to the Legal Service Department, National Headquarters, Abuja, he averred that the release of the suspect could jeopardise investigation.

He said that Osase was arrested by a team of DSS “for alleged membership and propagation of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist messages, including opposition to Democratic System of Government and the call for staging terrorists attacks against Nigeria State and its symbols of sovereignty;”

Abubakar stated that Osase was jailed five years for terrorism-related offences in France and was deported after the completion of his sentence.

He said that from the service’s preliminary investigation, Osase, who is an ex-convict, still engaged in terrorist activities which previously led to his conviction in France.

He said Osase appeared not to have renounced his terrorist ideologies, “as he continues to engage with the proscribed pro-ISIS online media group known as al-Alawn Media Foundation, whose main objectives is the creation and dissemination of terrorist content and the promotion of terrorist attacks against democratic systems of government such as Nigeria and the western governments, including their interests across the globe.”

He said the suspect, who was born in the Federal Capital Territory, “left Nigeria for France and never returned to Nigeria until his deportation after completion of five years jail term for acts of terrorism and attempt to join the Islamic State (IS) linked terrorist group, Friqat Al-Ghuraba (Group of Foreigners) in Syria.”

Abubakar said his activities constituted a potent threat to national security and corporate existence of Nigeria.

He said there was need for a thorough investigation of the suspect to ensure that he did not pose any security threat to Nigeria or the world at large.

According to him, the respondent is helping with vital Information that will lead to the arrest of other members who are still at large.

He said it would be in the interest of justice and national security to grant the application.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court Remands Landlord for Alleged Defilement of Tenant’s Daughter

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A family court sitting at Iyaganku, Ibadan, on Tuesday ordered the remand of one Musibau Lamidi, 50, for alleged defilement of his tenant’s six-year-old daughter.

The Magistrate, Mrs S. A . Adesina, ordered that the landlord should be kept at the Agodi custodial facility pending advice from Oyo State  Director of Public Prosecutions.

Adesina did not take the landlord’s plea.

She adjourned the case until April 25 for mention.

Reports says that Musibau, a resident of Olode, Ibadan, was charged on one-count of defilement.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Insp Gbemisola Adedeji, told the court that the defendant, on March 13, between 8. 00 a.

m. and 4.00 p.m.  defiled his tenant’s daughter.

Adedeji said that Musibau had an issue with the child’s mother and asked her to pack out.

The prosecutor said that when the woman went to look for a house to rent, the defendant defiled  her daughter.

She said that the offence contravened Section 34 of the Oyo State Child Right’s
Law of 2006. (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

4 Friends Docked for Allegedly Threatening Cleric’s Life

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Court Sentences Applicant to 6 Months in Prison for Stealing Cell Phone
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Four friends were on Monday docked in a Grade ‘A’ Customary Court in  Ibadan for allegedly threatening the life of  pastor Charles Gold.

The police charged Olatunji Musibau, 44;Abiodun Folarin, 50; Kazeem Oluremi, 60 and Yusuf Sodiq, 23, with conspiracy and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.

The Prosecution Counsel, Mr Philip Amusan, told the court that the defendants allegedly committed the offence on March 8, at about 2 p.

m., at New Bodija Area in Ibadan.

Amusan alleged that the defendants and others at large, threatened violence against pastor Gold, of Echo Evangelical Ministry Ibadan.

He said the offence contravened the probisions of sections 516 and 383 of the Criminal Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

The defendants however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Court President, Mrs Moji Aworemi, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N150, 000 each and one surety each in like sum.

Aworemi held that the surety must be a blood relation to the defendants.

She adjourned the case until April 29, for mention. (NAN)

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