The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has ordered the suspension of Value Added Tax collection by the Rivers state.
The appellate court also directed the parties to maintain position before the judgment of the lower court was delivered.
A three-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani gave the order on Friday while ruling on an application for stay of execution by the appellant’s counsel, Mahmud Magaji SAN.
Recall that a federal high court in Port Harcourt had earlier ruled in favour of the Rivers State government on who has the power to collect value added tax.
Following the judgment, Lagos State on Thursday passed the bill empowering the state to collect the VAT.
On Thursday, the bill seeking to empower Lagos to collect VAT was read for the third time and passed by lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Prior to the order on Friday, the Lagos State government had applied to be joined as a co-respondent to the suit filed by the FIRS at the appeal court.
The Attorney General of the State and Commissioner of Justice, Moyesore Onigbanjo SAN represented the state government.
Mr. Onigbanjo SAN informed the court that the interest of the state was at stake, stressing that if they were not joined, it would amount to a breach of a fair hearing.
Onigbanjo urged the court to take the application for the joinder first before the application for the stay of execution filed by the FIRS.
The appellate court, in its ruling, held that the motion for joinder by the Lagos State government be heard and gave the applicants two days to file their written addresses.
Similarly, the respondents have been given two days to file their response, while the applicants were given a day to reply on the point of law.
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