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VAT Dispute: Parties Should Maintain Status Quo -Appeal Court

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has ordered parties in the dispute over the administration of the Value Added Tax (VAT) to stay action pending the resolution of all legal issues in contention.

A three-member panel of the court on Friday, ordered parties to maintain status quo ante bellum and refrain from acts capable of jeopardising the res (subject of the dispute).

The court agreed with the lawyer to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mahmud Magaji (SAN) that, having submitted to its (the court’s) jurisdiction, it was incumbent on parties to preserve the res.

Justice Haruna Simon Tsanami, in the lead ruling, ordered parties not to give effect to the August 9 judgment of Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and the VAT law enacted by Rivers State.

The court ordered parties to hold their peace pending the hearing of the application filed by FIRS for stay of execution of the judgment given by Justice Steven Pam in favour of Rivers State to collect VAT in the state.

The court equally granted leave to the Lagos State Government to bring an application to be heard in the case as an interested party in the appeal filed by FIRS against the Federal High Court judgment.

It noted that Lagos State’s right would be adversely effected if not heard.

The court then adjourned till September 16 for the hearing of pending applications, including the joinder application by Lagos.

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