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Lawyer asks court to order bank, FIRS to defreeze account 

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
10 December 2019   |   3:55 am
A senior lawyer, Mr. Johnson Esezoobo has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos to direct Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and First Bank of Nigeria Plc...

Federal High Court, Lagos

A senior lawyer, Mr. Johnson Esezoobo has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos to direct Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and First Bank of Nigeria Plc to defreeze his chamber account alleged of tax default.

The lawyer, in a fundamental suit marked FHC/L/CS/1736/19 wants the court to order the defendants (FIRS and First Bank Plc) to defreeze and release forthwith the restriction of access placed on the applicant’s bank account domiciled in Shomolu branch of the 2nd respondent.

The applicant alleged that FIRS illegally froze the chambers account on allegation of tax default in the sum of N54, 639,286.48, which were never communicated to him and without due process of law.

He is therefore praying for an order for, “a declaration that the action of the respondents in freezing and continuous freezing of the applicant’s current account No. 2005033924 of J. Odion Esezoobo & Co., Destiny Chambers and domociled in Shomolu branch of the 2nd defendant by placing a lien on the said account without notice upon an allegation of tax default in the sum of N54, 639,286.48, which was never communicated to him is an unlawful deprivation of the applicants fundamental right to his private property guaranteed by Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.”

In a 19 paragraph averment attached to the motion on notice, Esezoobo stated that the respondents side-stepped the provisions of law in all respect and raised a tax liability against the applicant without due process of law therefore embarrassed him.

He stated that the bank owes a duty to keep the applicant account confidential as well as the money therein from any interference whatsoever by anybody, including the state or state functionaries except as authorized by law after observance of due process of a trial court of competent jurisdiction.

“Unless the 1st respondent complied with the provision of law more particularly Section 26 & 28 of the FIRS Act in conjunction with the VAT Act as well as Sections 6(6)(b) and 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, the 2nd respondent is not obliged to allow any interference with applicant’s account,” he averred.

He therefore wants the court to set aside 1st respondent’s claim of N54, 639,286.48 and the purported penalty of N100,000 together with additional penalty of N5,000 for six years as unconstitutional illegal null and void

He prayed for “an order of paymemt of N50, 000,000 exemplary damages against the respondents jointly and severally for unlawful deprivation of applicant’s fundamental right.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa has fixed December 12, 2019 for hearing as the defendant was yet to file defence despite been served the court processes.