A tax appeal tribunal sitting in Lagos has ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited to deposit 50 per cent of the disputed N1.8 trillion tax with the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Spokesman for the FIRS, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, made this known in a statement on Wednesday.
In July, the FIRS had appointed some commercial banks as agents to recover N1.8 trillion from accounts of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited and MultiChoice Africa.
The FIRS chairman, Muhammad Nami, had said the decision to appoint the banks as agents and to freeze the accounts was as a result of the group’s continued refusal to grant FIRS access to its servers for audit.
Nami had noted that FIRS discovered that the companies persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with the service.
The FIRS said it determined through a forensic audit that Multichoice Nigeria Limited had failed to pay to the government of Nigeria taxes worth N1.8 trillion.
In its reaction, Multichoice had assured that it would work with FIRS to prove its tax compliance.
At resumed hearing on Tuesday, the five-member TAT led by A.B. Ahmed, its chairman, issued the order following an application brought to the tribunal by the counsel to FIRS.
“The Counsel made the application under Order XI of the TAT Procedure Rules 2010 which requires Multichoice, or any other taxpayer who disputes their tax assessments, to make the statutory deposit required under Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act) as a condition that must be fulfilled before the prosecution of the appeal brought before TAT,” the statement reads.
“In certain defined circumstances to which the Multichoice appeal fits, Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act) requires persons or companies seeking to contest a tax assessment to pay all or a stipulated percentage of the tax assessed before they can be allowed to argue their appeal contesting the assessment at TAT.”
The FIRS said Multichoice filed a suit at the Lagos TAT following its dispute over the agency’s issuance of notices of assessment and demand note in the sum of N1, 822, 923,909,313.94k on April 7, 2021.
“At Tuesday’s hearing of the matter in Appeal No: TAT/LZ/CIT/062/2021 19/08/2021 (Multichoice Nigeria Limited v. Federal Inland Revenue Service), Multichoice Nigeria Limited amended its Notice of Appeal and thereafter sought through its Counsel, Bidemi Olumide of AO2 Law Firm for an adjournment of the proceedings to enable it to respond to the FIRS’ formal application for accelerated hearing of the appeal and prayer before the TAT to order Multichoice to produce DSTV’s revenue and subscriber database, among other prayers,” the statement further reads.
“In response, however, the FIRS Counsel asked TAT to issue an order requiring that Multichoice makes the statutory deposit of 50 per cent of the disputed sum.
In its consideration after hearing argument from both sides, the tax tribunal upheld the FIRS act and directed Multichoice to deposit with the FIRS the amount prescribed by the law, which is an amount equal to the tax charged upon Multichoice in the preceding year of assessment or one half of the tax charged by the assessment under appeal (whichever is lesser), plus a sum equal to 10% of the said deposit as a condition precedent for further hearing of the appeal.
The tribunal adjourned the hearing of the appeal case until September 23, 2021.
Don’t link your SIM card with another person’s NIN, NCC warns
The Nigerian Communications Commission has warned telecom consumers not allow their National Identification Number to be linked to another person’s Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card no matter how close the person is to them.
The commission gave the warning during its third Telecom Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR) programme on Human Rights Radio 101.1FM in Abuja.
The event was hosted on the platform: “NCC Digital Signature on Radio”, a statement by the NCC stated on Tuesday.
The NCC Digital Signature on Radio is the flagship radio programme of the commission created to educate the general public on the mandate of the commission and for sharing salient, consumer-centric and up-to-date information on how the NCC is delivering on this mandate.
Speaking during the radio programme, focused on: “The Benefits of NIN-SIM Integration”, NCC’s Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Efosa Idehen, said, “On no account should a telecom consumer, however, circumstanced, allow another person to register a SIM with their NIN.”
Idehen said compliance with the advice would protect the true owner of the NIN from liabilities or negative consequences arising from the use of another person’s SIM.
He said, “If the person whose SIM is linked to your line uses his own SIM to commit a crime or any form of atrocity, it is easy to be traced to you, and then you will be dealt with because the SIM is linked to your NIN.”
Lagos threatens to suspend NURTW, RTEAN over clashes
The Lagos State Government has threatened to suspend operations of transport unions in the Mile 2 area of the state should they continue to clash.
Three people reportedly died during a bloody clash last week on the Mile 2 and Amuwo Odofin axis between the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Amuwo division.
Responding to the violence, the Lagos State Government on Tuesday brokered peace between the warring factions in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, stated that the state government would deal with the case after the police had concluded their investigation and presented the report of the crisis.
He noted that multiple levies on truckers by the unions around the axis had been the cause the dispute.
Fayinka warned the unions to beware of infiltrators as this would soil their reputation and lead to an abrupt end of the activities by the state government as the safety of lives and properties is first and sacrosanct.
Port congestion: Relocate overtime cargos, Customs urges NPA
The Nigeria Customs Service has advised the Nigerian Ports Authority to move all overtime cargos from the terminal to reduce congestion.
This advice was given bythe Apapa Area Command of the NCS, noting that the transfer of overtime cargos from the ports to the government warehouse in Ikorodu was the responsibility of the NPA.
Cargos are classified as overtime when they stay in the ports for 28 days without the importer or clearing agent coming up to clear them.
Managing Director of the NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, had recently said there were over 5,000 overtime containers across the nation’s seaports taking up space for new imports.
Bello- Koko, who spoke during an interactive session organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Customs, had asked the Service to auction the overtime containers to decongest the nation’s seaports.
The NCS Controller of Apapa, Yusuf Malanta, who spoke when he received executive members of the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria in his office, said it required a lot in terms of logistics and financial commitment to move overtime cargos from the port to the government warehouse in Ikorodu.
According to him, there were currently about 500 overtime containers, including import and export, at the Apapa port, and that it would cost an average of N600,000 to move each of the containers from the port to Ikorodu – a cost which he said the command was not ready to bear.
The customs boss explained that there were also laid-down procedures for the disposal of overtime cargoes that must be followed before they are auctioned, to avoid litigation.
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