The sitting justice of the Court of Appeal, Hamma Simon Tsunami, on Thursday requested that the states of Rivers and Lagos present their formal request for the appointment of a Receiver/Manager to collect and hold Value Added Tax ( VAT) awaiting the settlement of the tax luxury item dispute.
The Court declined to grant the plea to throw aside the status quo ante belum ordered by the Appeal Court on September 10 in favour of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in the VAT dispute.
In an oral motion, Rivers State Counsel Ifedayo Adedipe asked the Court of Appeal to use its power under Order 4 Rule 6 of the Court of Appeal to appoint a Receiver or Manager to take custody of the VAT in the interest of justice for all parties involved.
In support of Rivers’ oral application, Lagos’ Attorney General, Moyosore Onigbanjo, expressly requested the Appeal Court to halt FIRS from collecting the tax and replace it with a Receiver or Manager who will represent patties in the legal struggle.
Despite the ongoing legal battle, the Lagos Attorney-General contended that it was unreasonable for the FIRS to collect the tax and distribute it among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory FCT.
Meanwhile, the court has delayed its decision on Lagos’ request to be added as a defendant in FIRS’ appeal of a federal high court’s decision in favour of Rivers State in Port Harcourt, which would be conveyed to the parties later.
Onigbanjo, who applied, stated that Lagos has a vested interest in the collection of Value Added Taxes and that the court’s judgment would have an impact on it.
The Attorney General told the three-judge panel that FIRS had made some charges against it in its appeal against the federal high court verdict and that it would be in the best interests of justice if it could join the appeal to air its defence.
The appellant, FIRS, through its counsel, Mahmoud Magaji, objected to Lagos’ request to join the case, claiming that the state had not demonstrated how its interests would be jeopardized if it was not allowed to participate.
The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF Abubakar Malami, filed processes through his attorney, Tijani Gazali, but they were dismissed as incompetent and submitted late.