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VAT Dispute: Lagos Applies To Join Appeal Filed By FIRS

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The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Moyesore Onigbanjo SAN, has applied to be joined as a co-respondent in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgement of the Rivers State High Court, which declared that the Rivers State Government had the right to collect Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Personal Income Tax in the state, and not the federal inland revenue services.

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Onigbanjo made the request on Friday, while the Court of Appeal in Abuja was the hearing of a civil motion filed by the FIRS asking the court to stay the execution of the judgement of the Rivers State High Court, pending the determination of its appeal.

The Lagos Attorney-General told the court that the state’s interest was at stake, stressing that if they aren’t joined in the matter, it would amount to a breach of fair hearing. He urged the court to take the application for the joinder first before the application for the Stay of Execution.

The Counsel to the FIRS, Mahmud Magaji SAN, however, urged the court to hear the main application (stay of execution request) first, as that was of utmost priority.

Subsequently, the head of the three-man panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, stepped down the matter for ruling.

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had on September 6 dismissed an application by the FIRS, seeking to stop the Rivers State government from enforcing the Rivers State High Court judgement vesting the power to collect Value Added Tax, VAT, within Rivers State on the state government and not FIRS.

The FIRS had, through a motion on notice, applied for a stay of execution on the earlier judgement delivered by Justice Stephen Pam, affirming the constitutional role of the state governments to collect VAT and not FIRS.

More to follow…

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