MTN files 9,100 document in suit against Malami


The tax battle between telecommunication firm, MTN Nigeria is heating up, as the telecommunications firm, on Tuesday, filed a 9,100-page document to court, to prove its N3 billion Naira claim against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

In 2018, MTN sued Malami in protest against a letter dated August 20, in which the AGF demanded that the telecom firm pay N242 billion Naira, and $1.3 billion dollars as import duties, withholding and value added taxes.

MTN’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, described the AGF’s demand from MTN as unreasonable, and is urging the court to award N3 billion Niara against Malami as general and exemplary damages.

In the suit, MTN, through Olanipekun, is urging the court to declare that the AGF acted illegally by “usurping the powers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, to audit and demand remittance of withholding tax and value added tax.”

The firm also wants the court to declare that with the “self assessment exercise,” the AGF usurped the powers of the Nigerian Customs Service to demand payment of import duties on importation of goods.

It wants the court to declare that “the purported self assessment” conducted by the AGF was “unknown to law, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”

Justice C.J. Aneke, who is hearing the case, had in May dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Malami, challenging the competence of the suit.

Justice Aneke rejected the AGF’s argument that the suit was not filed within three months of cause of action and was statute barred.

“From the endorsement on the writ, this suit was commenced on September 10, 2018 and a simple calculation shows that from August 23, 2018 when the cause of action arose to September 10, 2018, when the suit was instituted, a period of three months had not expired, as envisaged, for the suit to be statute barred,” the judge held as he declined the AGF’s prayer to strike out the suit.

Meanwhile, the Tuesday’s proceedings in the case were stalled as counsel sought an adjournment.

Justice Aneke adjourned till January 30, 2020.

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