The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said that it received from First Bank PLC, purported overbloated turnover of account of a company, Biatemp Ventures Ltd, seeking redress for alleged manipulation of its account.
In a Statement of Defence filed before a Federal High Court, Abuja, FIRS said that it received from First Bank a compact disc containing evidence that the indigenous company received a cash flow of over 6.8 million dollar.
The company had sued First Bank and FIRS demanding N25 billion special and general damages over alleged manipulation of its domiciliary account and illegal withholding of its tax clearance certificate.
Biantemp alleged that First Bank manipulated its domiciliary account with over-bloated turnover of over 6.8 million dollar (about N2.4 billion) whereas the deposit made to the account within the period was only 22,475 dollar (about N786,000)
The company claimed that the alleged manipulation of its account and the delay in issuing its tax clearance certificate impeded it from participating in bids for several business opportunities leading to severe economic losses and huge embarrassment.
In the statement of defence filed on behalf of FIRS by Messrs N.J. Kalu and Co. the federal revenue collection agency said it acted based on the information provided by the bank.
Specifically, Mr Oyerogba Kehinde, a Senior Manager (Tax) with FIRS deposed that: “the second defendant (FIRS) was only performing her statutory function based on the information received from the first defendant (First Bank)”
“That First Bank in compliance with the statutory provision, forwarded a compact disc (CD) to FIRS which contained evidence that plaintiff received a cash flow of ($6,861,618.00) into its account domiciled with the bank.
“At the trial, FIRS shall rely and found on a letter dated Jan. 4, 2018 forwarding the said CD.
” FIRS shall also rely on a copy of printout from her data base, showing the dollar inflow into the plaintiffs account with the bank.
“FIRS only acted on the information and facts willingly provided to her by First Bank.
” That the bank has never written her to deny the fact she forwarded the compact disc containing information and evidence showing that the plaintiff received a cash flow of $6,861,618:00 on the 28th of November 2018
“At the trial, FIRS shall rely on the printout from her data base on returns filed by banks including the first defendant”
The deponent denied allegation of collaboration to manipulate the plaintiff’s account and deliberate withhold of the company’s tax clearance certificate.
He also stated that the plaintiff had not shown that it suffered collosal loss as a result of any action taken by the FIRS and urged the court to dismiss the suit against the service with cost.
In the suit filed on behalf of the plaintiff by Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, chamber, the company alleged that First Bank manipulated its domiciliary account with a purported turnover of 6.8 million dollar (about N2.4 billion) leading to the withhold of its 2018 tax clearance by FIRS.
The company said the deposit made to its domiciliary account within the period was only 22,475 Dollar (about N786,000) being consultancy fee paid by its client, Forte Upstream Services Ltd.
It stated that the said deposit of 22,475 dollar was actually withdrawn by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in about four respective transaction.
“The alleged huge multiple cash dollar withdrawal seen to be made by the plaintiff’s Director between 7th and 21st December 2017 as captured by the FIRS were also enlarged mirrors of actual dollar withdrawals made by the plaintiff’s director”
The plaintiff said when it obtained its statement of account from First Bank the inflow and outflow of fund was in complete variance with the record made available by the FIRS.
The plaintiff therefore alleged that the acclaimed deposit and withdrawal of over 6.8 million dollar were enlarged mirror of the 22,475 dollar deposited into its account by its client for consultancy services and withdrawn by its CEO.
First Bank in its statement of defence had denied the allegations that it manipulated the account of the plaintiff, collaborated or conspired in anyway with the FIRS.
The defence filed by its lawyer, S.M. Jimmy Esq. the bank stressed that “the plaintiff’s account was never at any point in time tampered with, let alone manipulated”.
“There is no time that First Bank, as a well known and reputable bank in Nigeria engage in such irresponsible and scandalous act”.
It urged the court to declare that the plaintiff was not entitled to any of the reliefs sought.
The bank also asked the court to declare the case as ‘frivolous, abuse of court process, gold digging exercise and should be dismissed with substantial cost”.
Meanwhile, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako has adjourned the case until Oct. 28 for further hearing