Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and First Bank Plc have opted for out of court settlement in a N25 billion damages suit filed against them by an indigenous company, Biatemp Ventures Limited, over alleged account manipulation.
The company had sued First Bank and FIRS before a Federal High Court, Abuja, demanding N25 billion special and general damages over alleged manipulation of its domiciliary account and illegal withholding of its tax clearance certificate.
Biantemp alleged that First Bank manipulated its domiciliary account with an over-bloated turnover of over $6.8 million (about N2.4 billion) whereas the deposit made to the account within the period was only $22,475 (about N786,000
At the resumed hearing of the case before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, lawyers to the two defendants informed the court that their clients were interested in settling the matter out of court. Messrs S.M. Jimmy and N.J. Kalu representing First Bank and FIRS respectively prayed the court to adjourn the matter to allow parties to further explore the out of court settlement already set in motion.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Lloyd Ekweremadu, from Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) Chamber, confirmed the position and did not oppose the request for adjournment.
Ekweremadu said though the court was set for the hearing of the motion filed by the 2nd respondent to amend its statement of defence, he would not oppose the request for adjournment of the case.
He confirmed that the respondents had approached his client seeking to settle the case out of court. Justice Nyako expressed delight at the development, stressing that the court always encourage parties in disputes to explore alternative resolution options.
The matter was then adjourned till December 2 for the report of settlement.