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‘Tax evasion’: Tribunal okays Multichoice’s N8bn deposit, fixes date to hear appeal against FIRS

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The tax appeal tribunal (TAT) has ruled that Multichoice Nigeria Limited met the conditions necessary to prosecute an appeal against the N1.8 trillion tax levied on it by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

 

Multichoice is the owner of the satellite televisions, DStv and Gotv – popular subscription-based platforms in Nigeria.

 

At the hearing in Lagos on Wednesday, the administrative court said it was satisfied that MultiChoice had complied with the directive by depositing N8 billion — as instructed on the provision of the FIRS Act.

 

Paragraph 15(7)(c) of the fifth schedule of the FIRS Act, 2007 requires an appellant to pay 50 percent of the tax paid the previous year plus 10 percent mark-up as security before prosecuting an appeal.

At the last hearing in September, the FIRS had asked the tribunal to discontinue the hearing of MultiChoice’s appeal and enter judgment against the appellant for failure to pay 50 percent of the disputed N1.8 trillion sum under assessment — about N900 billion.

 

But Multichoice Nigeria Limited said it had complied with the directives of the tax tribunal by depositing an amount required by the law with the FIRS, which according to the company, is N8 billion.

 

Both parties had expressed diverse views on the amount expected to pay as security for prosecuting an appeal before the TAT — as stakeholders, including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), faulted loopholes in the FIRS Act.

 

Reading the ruling, AB Ahmad, the tribunal chairman, dismissed the contention of the FIRS that the deposit made by MultiChoice amounted to non-compliance with Paragraph 15(7) of the FIRS Act.

 

He said the appellant has shown respect to and complied with the tribunal’s directive.

 

The tribunal also dismissed the argument of the FIRS that the security deposit MultiChoice was required to make should cover 10 consecutive financial years — not just that of the preceding financial year, which is 2019.

 

The tribunal agreed with the position of MultiChoice that the relevant provision of the FIRS Act stated the preceding year and not years — as the FIRS had argued.

The tribunal then fixed November 17, 2021, for the commencement of the hearing of the appeal.

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Railway workers give FG 21-day ultimatum over poor welfare, Chinese drivers

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Railway workers are poised for a showdown with the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and by extension the Federal Government over poor condition of service, their inability to take over the driving of the new Lagos-Ibadan trains from the Chinese contractors, among other issues.

Indeed, they have given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to address all their grievances or face an industrial action.

The two in-house unions, Nigeria Union of Railway workers and Senior Staff Association, gave the ultimatum in a joint statement obtained by Newstrends on Saturday.

They said the decision was taken after a meeting of the unions’ leaders with representatives of the NRC management at Ebute Meta, Lagos, headquarters of the corporation. They declared the meeting held on Tuesday November 2, 2021 as deadlocked.

 

The workers in the statement signed by Segun Esan and Jibrin Kadiri, the Secretary General of the NUR, and Secretary of the SSA respectively, expressed their opposition of the Chinese continued hold on the driving of the Lagos-Ibadan Trains Service.

“The unions have demanded from the management to collect the driving of the LITS from the Chinese who, in total aberration to the norms and ethos governing train driving in Nigeria, still hold on to driving the LITS trains beyond the warranty/guaranty period,” they stated.

The unions asked the NRC management “to ensure that the Chinese are barred from driving the LITS with immediate effect and a new regime of warranty/guaranty of the LITS service be demanded.”

They also decried the manner in which their welfare package was being handled in the last six years by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and vowed to adopt a forceful approach, going forward.

They stated, “The unions, without mincing words, expressed utmost displeasure and regrets over the manner the Hon. Minister of Transportation has been so unconcerned with the demand of the workers for enhanced salary.

“The unions recalled that the agitation for enhanced salary has been on for the past six years and the Hon. minister has tactically evaded all entreaties of the leadership of the two in-house unions to meet him on the plight of the workers as occasioned by the poor salary regime that is obtainable in the corporation and which remains the poorest salary regime ever under the federal ministry of transport.

“The unions have declared that tactics and strategies would be changed towards achieving all-important salary enhancement for the workers of the corporation as peaceful and constructive methodologies explored by the Unions have failed.”

The statement also said, “As of today and now, the Corporation has no standard condition of service and this we have pointed out to the management with the matching demand that the reworked standard condition of service which was placed before the Board should be reviewed and approved for applicability without any further delay. The management has promised to escalate it to the Board with a memo soon.”

The unions also commented on the last terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna standard train, with a demand for a compulsory insurance policy for all train crew members and passengers.

“We have requested individual insurance for all the train crew, passengers and the entire workers of the corporation who may be exposed to such deadly hazards in the course of their duties. This demand is made without any prejudice to the existing group life assurance scheme (GLAS) for the workers the status of which is still lurked in obscurity to the unions,” the statement added.

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Five killed as fire razes Abuja market

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About five persons were reported dead on Friday evening when a section of the popular Kubwa ultramodern market in Abuja went up in flames.
Two other people were said to have sustained varying degrees of burns while goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed.
Although the actual cause of the fire which started minutes before 8pm could not be ascertained, traders said it was as a result of an explosion from adulterated kerosene.
Frefighters were still struggling to contain the inferno as of 9pm, according to several accounts of the incident.

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101 robbery convicts, suspects, 23 rapists among Oyo fleeing inmates

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About 101 accused who were arrested for alleged armed robbery are among the inmates that escaped from the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Oyo town, Oyo State.

Twenty three others, whose details were released, were said to be in custody for sexual-related offences such as rape and defilement, while 12 among them were alleged kidnappers.

Recall that hundreds of inmates escaped from the facility when some hoodlums invaded the correctional centre.

To ensure that all those who escaped from the prison during the attack and had refused to return are brought back, the Ministry of Interior late Friday night released the names, photographs and nature of the offence of those who are still at large.

Our correspondent noted that the data of 200 inmates were released as the ministry warned members of the public against offering any forms of assistance to the fleeing inmates.

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The ministry, which is headed the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, warned that the fleeing inmates were dangerous and that the only assistance members of the public could do was to alert security agents of their presence anywhere they were found.

A note written beside the data of the 200 fleeing inmates read, “Names and faces of wanted persons, who escaped from the Oyo Custodial Centre on Friday 22nd October, 2021. Please note that these persons are dangerous!

“Kindly contact the nearest police station or security agency close to you when you sight any of these persons.

“Note: It is a crime punishable under the law to render any form of assistance to these persons.”

The minister had vowed that the Federal Government would do everything to bring all the fleeing inmates back to the facility either dead or alive, saying the attack was to ridicule the government.

Aregbesola, who is a former Osun State governor, had said, “We are going after every single inmate that escaped from custody. We shall hunt them to the ends of the earth. All the security agencies in the country are on their trail. We shall not rest or tire until we bring the last one in, dead or alive.

Punch

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