VAT Dispute: Appeal Court orders all parties to maintain status Quo as Lagos applies to join appeal filed by FIRS
September 10, 2021
The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has ordered all parties to maintain status quo and refrain from taking action that would give effect to the judgement of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt that allowed the Rivers State government to collect Value Added Tax (VAT), pending the hearing and determination of the instant suit.
A three-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani gave the order on Friday while ruling on an appeal filed by the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS).
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.
Meanwhile the Lagos State Government on Friday 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.
Attorney-General of the state, Moyesore Onigbanjo, made the request at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on behalf of the state government.
He urged the court to take the application for the joinder first before the FIRS’ application for a Stay of Execution of the judgement of the Rivers State High Court.
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.