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COURT RULES - THE EFCC LACKS POWERS TO INVESTIGATE, ASSESS, LEVY AND OR ENFORCE TAX AND TAX RELATED MATTERS ON BEHALF OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NI
We are pleased to have represented Vertex Agro Ltd; a major
Manufacturer and supplier of Agro-Allied products in Nigeria,
before the Federal High Court, Abuja to a Landmark Victory
against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
Vide an originating summons filed on the 8th day of February 2023 we beseeched the Federal High Court with Six(6) questions and sought several reliefs essentially challenging the scope of the powers of the EFCC to assess, investigate, enforce, or levy taxes on behalf of the Federal Government given the incessant invitations and harassment of the company by personnel of the EFCC on Tax related inquiries, on the grounds that issues of Taxation are within the exclusive preserve of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
We contended amongst other things that the EFCC cannot usurp the powers of another federal government agency equally created by an Act of Parliament; the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007 to undertake the assessment, investigation, enforcement, and collection of taxes on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In that pursuit, we prayed the Court to declare the actions of the EFCC as ultra vires and accordingly grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining the EFCC from further inviting the alter ego of Our Client or any other staff in the guise of undertaking the assessment, investigation, enforcement, and collection of taxes on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In resolving the above issue, the Federal High Court in a well-considered judgment on the 19th day of July 2023, agreed with our contention that the EFCC indeed acted beyond its powers when it undertook the assessment, investigation, enforcement, and collection of taxes on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria concerning Our Client’s tax obligations.
The Federal High Court held that the powers of the EFCC in the investigation of financial crimes are not at large hence it cannot reign supreme over the powers of another Federal Government Agency that is specifically empowered to undertake the assessment, investigation, enforcement, and collection of taxes on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Consequently, the Court granted our relief for a perpetual injunction and awarded the sum of N3,000,000.00 (Three Million Naira) only as general damages against the EFCC.
Our Dispute resolution team was ably led by Our Associate; Emmanuel C. Sogo, Esq with J.P. Okako, Esq
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On the 7th day of May, 20222, the Court of Appeal, Asaba Division dismissed the appeal in Appeal No: CA/AW/100/2022 instituted by one Francis Adinor challenging the qualification of Valentine Ozigbo and his running mate Mrs Lilian Azuka Enemo in the just concluded Anambra State Governorship election held on the 6th of November, 2021 from contesting on the grounds that they gave false information owing to the slight variant in their names.
CHARGE NUMBER: CR/109/2021- INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE v. BINTA AUDU. We are pleased to have represented Binta Audu (an indigent Client) on a four-count charge bothering on conspiracy, obtaining by pretence, cheating and fraud relating to a Point Of Sale (POS) transaction before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Nigeria Coram Judice; S. M. Idris of Court 28, in Charge No.CR/109/2021.