MTN Nigeria’s Lawsuit Against Government to be Heard Dec. 3

  • MTN Nigeria’s Lawsuit Against Government to be Heard Dec. 3

MTN Nigeria’s suit against the Attorney General of the Federation will be heard on December 3.

The telecommunication giant is challenging the legality of N242 billion and $1.3 billion in import duties imposed on the company as well as the withholding tax assessment.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos fixed the date after both parties had informed the court of their various applications, filed and served.

The AGF had accused MTN Nigeria of owing the Federal Government up to $2 billion in import duties, withholding tax and value-added tax over a period of 10 years.

The accusation plunged MTN’s market capitalisation to a record-low from Africa’s largest wireless telecom company to second largest after Safaricom of Kenya.

MTN, who immediately refutes the allegation, filed a lawsuit against the AGF seeking the legality of the assessment.

In the suit, MTN Nigeria is seeking clearance on the following grounds.

  • That the purported “Revenue assets investigation” allegedly carried out by the Federal Government on MTN, for the period of 2007 – 2017, and its decision conveyed through the office of the AGF by a letter dated Aug. 20, violates the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution.

  • A declaration that the AGF acted in excess of its powers, by purporting to direct through its letter of May 10, a “self assessment exercise” which usurps the powers of the Nigerian Customs Service to demand payment of import duties on importation of physical goods.

  • A declaration 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.

  • A declaration that the purported “self assessment” exercise instituted by the AGF via its letter of May 10, is unknown to law, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

  • A declaration that the AGF’s demand of the sums of N242 billion and 1.3 billion dollars from MTN, is premised on a process which is malicious, unreasonable and made on incorrect legal basis.

The AGF, however, is challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the case, arguing that the failure of the plaintiff to commence the suit within three months of been served is a clear disregard to section 2 of the Public Officers Protection Act, which stated that any action against a public officer must be made within three months from commencement of cause of action.

In a separate but related suit, MTN Nigeria is seeking similar redress against the Central Bank of Nigeria over another accusation of illegal repatriation of $8.1 billion funds.

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya

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