Witness’ absence stalls trial in MTN suit against AGF

The Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned until Oct. 29, hearing in a suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communication Ltd, against the Attorney-General of the Federation, over N242 billion and 1.3 billion dollars import duties and withholding tax assessments.

MTN had instituted the suit by a writ, dated Sept.10, 2018, challenging mainly, the legality of the AGF’s assessment of its import duties, withholding tax and value added tax in the sums of N242 billion and 1.3 billion dollars.

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The suit which was earlier fixed for trial, could not proceed on Wednesday, following the absence of a witness for the AGF.

When the case was called, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) announced appearance for the plaintiff, while Mr T.A Mokolu and T. Adesanya, appeared for the AGF.

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Mokolu then informed the court that their witness had challenges being in court today, as he was held back.

He added that even the lead counsel Mr Tijani Gazali was also held up in Abuja over same witness.

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On that premise, counsel urged the court to grant an adjournment in their favour.

In response, Olanipekun said he was not opposed to the request for adjournment and would not also ask for cost, but noted that such adjournment was a drawback to the suit.

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After listening to respective counsel, Justice Chukwukekwu Aneke adjourned the case until Oct 29, and Oct. 31 for trial.

The plaintiff is seeking among other declaratory reliefs, 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.

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