The Tax Appeal Tribunal, Lagos Zone, has ordered Ecobank to pay at least N1.6 billion to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as its company income tax for 2016.
The tribunal declared as illegal, the decision of Ecobank Nigeria Limited to pay N5.5 billion as dividends to its shareholders ”in a year the bank claimed it made no taxable profit and rather declared losses from its banking operation.”
According to a release by the Director, Communications and Liaison Department, FIRS, Abdullahi Ahmad, the tribunal reached the decision in its judgment dated February 20, 2020 which it delivered in Appeal No. TAT/LZ/CIT/024/2018.
Consequentially, Ecobank must now pay at least N1.6 billion to the FIRS as company income tax for the year in dispute – 2016
“Ecobank had dragged the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to court over the insistence of the Service that the bank must pay in full its excess dividend tax liability of N2,079,375,000, inclusive of interest and penalty for the Year of Assessment (YOA) 2016.
“But ECO Bank argued that the dividend it paid out was tax-exempt as N4,372,244,556 out of the total sum was “profit from bonds and treasury bills”, which was not taxable based on the provisions of the Company Income Tax (Exemption of Bonds and Short-Term Government Securities) Order, 2011,” the FIRS said in the statement.
The bank after reportedly admitting to only making N1.1 billion “trading profits” from other business sources, decided that it would only pay N351 million tax to the FIRS.
The bank was said to have paid the service after some months of delay.
However, FIRS “demanded the immediate payment of the outstanding excess dividend tax liability of N1,311,673,367” from the bank, which impasse led to suit before the tax tribunal.”
Spokesperson of the bank, Austin Osokpor on Wednesday said he does not ”have prior knowledge of the case”.
“I don’t know about it at all before this time,” he said on the telephone.
He promised to react once he is able to clarify the story.
Meanwhile, according to the FIRS statement, the bank presented three issues for determination, namely whether the FIRS “was correct to assess the Appellant to tax under Section 19 of CITA when the income earned was “from Bonds, Treasury Bills, and other Government Securities”.
“Whether the FIRS misdirected itself by failing to take account the CIT paid by the Appellant and whether by the rules of Interpretation of Statutes, the Respondent has erred in law in its application of Section 19 of CITA.”
In its consideration of the three issues raised, the tribunal reportedly resolved them in favour of the FIRS.
It held that “companies that invest in bonds will, by virtue of the tax exemption, become liable to pay excess dividend tax on their profits.”
The court maintained that “if the tax exemption granted by the order creates an excess dividend situation, Ecobank or any other company should be liable to pay excess dividend tax on the same income that otherwise would have been exempted from tax.”
“A liability to pay excess dividend tax arises where a company that seeks to pay dividends has no taxable profit as in the instant case but has the distributable profit that is higher than the taxable profit,” the tribunal said.
The tribunal also said that the FIRS properly directed itself by not failing “to take into account the sum already settled by the Appellant” (Eco Bank) in the Service’s “total assessment of N1,663,500,000.”
Addressing the final issue for determination, the tax tribunal headed by Ado-Baba Ahmed, resolved all issues raised in favour of the FIRS.
It declared that the Ecobank “appeal fails and is hereby dismissed.”
DStv subscribers can look forward to a great end to the week by enjoying a plethora of pulsating fight action in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) showdown, starting from Thursday, February 27, 2020, to Sunday, March 1, 2020.
First, there will be a thrilling power tussle and sweaty muscles in the WWE on Thursday, when Bray ‘The Fiend’ Wyatt and WCW legend Bill Goldberg clash for the Universal Championship belt. Goldberg, who held the belt back in 2017, is returning to action for the first time since August 2019, at the ripe age of 53.
The fight between Wyatt and Goldberg will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at 6 pm local time and will be shown live on Channel 128.
In another showdown that is sure to get all pulses racing, Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will battle for flyweight crown in the UFC on Sunday, after Henry Cejudo vacated the title. Benavidez, who has been a top-five ranked fighter since the division was introduced, is coming into the fight on the back of three wins and feels now is finally his time to win the title which has eluded him twice. The 35-year-old American has lost five times in 28 fights.
Figueiredo, on the other hand, is coming into the fight on the back two wins. The 31-year-old Brazilian suffered his first loss of his career in a unanimous decision to Jussier Formiga who Benavidez finished in his last fight.
This has been adjudged the toughest fight of Figueiredo’s career, while an experienced Benavidez would be wary that his opponent has never fought more than three rounds. Benavidez’ experience will be crucial in staying out of trouble, especially as Figueiredo would prefer to take the fight to the floor with his jiu-jitsu in order to find a finish.
DStv subscribers can catch the showdown between Figueiredo and Benavidez live on Supersport 6 and Supersport 11 at 2:00 AM.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya of an Ikeja High Court, on Thursday, struck out a suit filed by former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, seeking to stop his probe by the state Assembly over the purchase of 820 buses for Bus Reform Project.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adesanya ruled that the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate Ambode was a fact-finding committee.
According to the judge, an investigation is not an indictment.
“The claimant (Ambode) has not been indicted. An invitation by an agency of government cannot in any way cause a breach of the threat of the fundamental rights of the claimant.
“I hereby find that the claimant’s action is an invitation to the court to cripple the legislative exercise of the statutory power of the Lagos State House of Assembly under Section 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution.
“That is not the function of the court, and no court of law should accede such invitation. The claimant’s suit is hereby struck out,” she said.
NAN reports that Ambode had instituted the civil suit against the State House of Assembly, its Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, and the House Clerk, Mr A.A. Sanni.
Other respondents are Mr Fatai Mojeed, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement of the buses and eight members of the committee.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has won the Oil and Gas Banker of Year 2019 award. The award was presented to the Tier-1 lender at the Patrons’ Dinner and Industry Awards of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit held recently at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
The four-day event, comprising conference and award dinner, is acclaimed to be Nigeria’s Government official platform for the petroleum industry gathering which has evolved to become Africa’s premier business and technology conference for not just oil and gas but for other industries in the economy, notably; maritime, automobile, banking and finance, power (electricity), pipelines, LNG, infrastructure, engineering and construction amongst others.
Speaking on the award, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Adesola Adeduntan said, “we take pride in this recognition, as it represents the nation’s identification with our leading role in promoting the growth of the oil and gas industry. We remain steadfast on being the financial partner of first choice to Nigerians and, indeed across Africa as we collectively strive towards the continued growth of the economy at large”
The event had in attendance; Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, represented by Mrs. Bashirat Odunewu, the Bank’s Group Executive, Energy & Infrastructure as a panelist to deliberate the topic “What are the key challenges when it comes to managing risk and generate sustainable long-term in-country value development environment”.
Other speakers in the panel were Mrs. Olayemi Anyanechi, Managing Director, Partners Sefton Fross; Bank Anthony Okoroafor, Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN); Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources; and Patrick Olinma, Executive Director, Oil & Gas Commercial, Total E&P Nigeria Ltd.
Whichever way you choose to look at it, there’s always a certain feeling you get watching programmes on DStv. Comedy lovers are always set for me laughs and great witty lines, football lovers’ move to the edge of their seats or throw their legs in the air, action movie lovers hold tight to their seats or scream when their favourite actor hits a great stunt. So, if you are ready for some epic reactions, here are some highlights to anticipate:
Africa Magic has got you covered with some hilarious comedy show; My Flatmates, a situational comedy documenting the lives of four friends who share an apartment. All sorts of chaotic and hilarious things happen as they go about their daily escapades. Showing weekdays on Africa Magic Showcase Channel 151 at 6:30 pm.
The Johnsons, a family sitcom that focuses on an average family based in Lagos, Nigeria, their diverse traits and how they cope with what life has to offer them, also on Africa Magic Showcase Channel 151 weekdays at 7:00 pm.
Hustle The tale of Dayo, a gullible but optimistic young man who moves to Lagos with dreams of making it big and you know Lagos has plenty of drama for this JJC. Follow the trails of Dayo, weekdays on Africa Magic Family Channel 154 weekdays at 9:00pm
Football is always hot and brings in so much excitement. On Premier League, watch Everton take on Manchester United when the teams meet at Goodison Park for a Sunday afternoon clash. The teams are fighting for a place in European club football next season. Catch this on SuperSport 3, Channel 223, Sunday 1 March at 2:50 pm.
It’s the Blues v the Reds as Chelsea host Liverpool for a Fifth Round Emirates FA Cup clash at Stamford Bridge in London. Jurgen Klopp’s side have dominated the Premier League, but a one-off FA Cup tie gives Chelsea the chance for an upset. Anticipate this epic match on SuperSport 2, Channel 223 on Tuesday 3 March at 8:35 pm.
Don’t miss all the action moments on DStv, with titles such as Assault on Precinct 13, Marion Bishop, a criminal, is held in the custody of Sergeant Jake Roenick. With a group of sullied gunmen on a mission to shoot down Marion, will Jake and his forces be able to protect him? Starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne. This airs on BET Channel 129, Friday 28 February at 7:00 pm.
The Promise, as movie favourites, Golden Globe winners Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale star in this historical drama. A love triangle develops between a medical student, a journalist and a sophisticated young woman. On Mzansi Magic Channel 160 this Saturday 29 February at 9:30 pm.
In Cold Pursuit, Nels Coxman’s quiet life as a snowplough driver comes crashing down when his beloved son dies under mysterious circumstances. His search for the truth soon becomes a quest for revenge against a psychotic drug lord named Viking and his sleazy henchmen. Starring Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman and Tom Jackson ON M-Net Channel 101 Sunday 1 March at 7:30 pm.
With the month of love coming to an end, time is also running out to take advantage of DStv’s Step Up Promo. Pay your account on time before 29 February and get a boost to a higher package within 48 hours. Don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy a whole month of even more entertainment.
The greatest tool of lawyers is their ability to think. Come April 2020, Lawyers across the country will gather to slug it out in a Chess tournament. In an interview with the multiple award winning visioneer, more interesting details are revealed.
Can we meet you?
I am Charles Ajiboye, a lover of chess, a thinker, a speaker, a lawyer, an author and many things to different people. I am the Founding Partner at The Penthouse Law and Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja, and former Chairman of the NBA Young Lawyers forum.
Please tell us about the Charles Ajiboye National Chess Tournament for Lawyers?
Yes, it is a tournament I have always nurtured in my mind. I have always loved people who think smartly and this is an opportunity to celebrate what I love. I am grateful to the people at The Penthouse Solicitors for choosing to support this dream.
It is a championship event designed for lawyers by lawyers to amplify and promote the passion for chess and the beneficial impact it has on the thinking abilities of lawyers. The championship is designed to bring lawyers all across the country who will compete with each other for various prizes. It is with the patronage of the Nigeria Chess Federation and the FIDE (World Chess Federation).
Winners in the tournament will go away with over ONE MILLION NAIRA IN CASH PRIZES ASIDES TROPHIES, MEDALS AND CONSOLATION PRIZES.
What are the prizes to be won?
The prizes to be won according to the positions are:
1st Position: N500,000 with Championship trophy and Medal
2nd position: N300,000 with Championship trophy and Medal
3rd position: N200,000 with Championship trophy and Medal
In addition, there will be various consolation prizes.
How can people participate in the tournament?
Lawyers who would be contesting for a prize at the tournament will have to register on www.charlesajiboye.com. Also, law students, lawyers and non-lawyers who are interested in attending can attend at no cost. For confirmation of attendance and enquiries on accommodation you call Olajide Ajibowo, Esq. on 08139358527.
Is this going to be an annual event?
Well, that is the plan, and I am really hopeful of the success of this maiden edition.
We learnt that you are aspiring to be the next National Assistant Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association. Is this going to affect the tournament being an annual event?
It is true that I intend to serve the profession as you have rightly said. But this tournament is even a deeper way to serve. Moreso, it is being powered by The Penthouse Law, and they are not joking with it at all.
Do you play chess?
Definitely I do. However, I’m not a pro.
When did you start playing chess?
I cannot remember. But a really long time ago.
What is the schedule of the tournament?
The tournament is scheduled to begin on Friday 10th of April at the 3 star Orchid Hotel, Lekki, Lagos. The tournament itself is proposed to be a one day event which is to be held on 10th (Arrival/Players meeting), 11th of April (Academy and Tournament day), and 12th April, 2020 (Closing).
Can non-lawyers participate in the tournament?
Yes, but only as observers and special guests who will play in the opening leisure game. There will also be a law student category in the tournament. The tournament is strictly for lawyers and law students. However, non-lawyers can be part of our audience. Admission for such is free.
What is the highlight of the tournament?
The tournament will host over 500 lawyers and Law Students from all over Nigeria, with an opening leisure game face-off by eminent personalities from all walks of life including the Bench and Bar.
Do you have sponsors already or the tournament is self-funded?
The event would be massive and a veritable ground for sponsorship. Some individuals and corporate bodies have shown interest in taking advantage of the opportunity the tournament provides. There is however still room to leverage on the event, as this event will further help position brands as premium brands and put them in the hands and faces of people that matter in the industry.
What are the expectations to look forward to at the tournament?
The tournament being the first of its kind promises to be thrilling, engaging, fun and interesting. It is definitely the most prestigious and most rewarding sport event for lawyers in Nigeria.There will be an academy where people will learn how to play chess. Invitation has been sent to The Governor of Lagos State, Commissioner for Youth, Sport, Social Development. The Attorney General of Lagos State, The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Senior Advocates of Nigeria and various legal luminaries and Captains of Industry.