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Lagos applies to join Rivers in FIRS’ appeal over VAT dispute

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The Lagos State Government has 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, declaring that the Rivers State Government had the right to collect Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Personal Income Tax in the state, and not the FIRS.

The request was made on Friday by the Attorney-General of the state, Moyesore Onigbanjo, at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on behalf of the state government.

Onigbanjo told the court that the state’s interest was at stake, stressing that if they aren’t joined in the matter, it would amount to a breach of fair hearing.

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.

But Counsel to the FIRS, Mahmud Magaji SAN, urged the court to hear the stay of execution request first, as it was of utmost priority.

However, Justice Tsammani stepped down the matter for ruling and ordered all parties to maintain the status quo and desist from taking action that would give effect to the judgement of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, pending the hearing and determination of the instant suit.

READ ALSO: Lagos LGs, Councils seek 50:50 sharing formula with govt in new VAT bill

The court also ruled that the motion of joinder by the Lagos State government be heard and gave the applicants two days to file their written addresses.

Similarly, the respondents were given two days to file their response, while the applicants were given a day to reply on the point of law.

Meanwhile, the judgement comes after an appeal filed by the FIRS following the judgement of the Port Harcourt High Court.

Ripples Nigeria reported that 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 High Court judgement vesting the power to collect 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.

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