Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and First Bank Limited have pleaded with a Federal High Court in Abuja to allow them settle out of court in a N25 billion damages suit filed against them by an indigenous company, Biatemp Ventures Ltd over alleged account manipulation.
In the originating summons, the company had sued First Bank and FIRS before a Federal High Court, Abuja, 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 (about N2.4 billion) whereas the deposit made to the account within the period was only $22,475 (about N786,000)
At the resumed hearing of the case before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, lawyers to the two defendants informed the court that their clients were interested in settling the matter out of court.
Messrs S.M. Jimmy and N.J. Kalu representing First Bank and FIRS respectively prayed the court to adjourn the matter to allow parties further explore the out of court settlement already set in motion.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Lloyd Ekweremadu from Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) Chamber confirmed the position and did not oppose the request for adjournment.
Ekweremadu said that, though the case was set for the hearing of the motion of the 2nd Respondent’s to amend its Statement of Defence, he would not oppose the request for adjournment of the case.
He confirmed that the respondents had approached his client seeking to settle the case out of court.
Justice Nyako expressed delight over the development stressing that the court always encourage parties in disputes to explore alternative resolution options.
The matter was then adjourned till December 2 for the Report of Settlement.
The plaintiff had alleged in the suit that the manipulation of the account was discovered by the FIRS intelligent findings when it filed it’s 2018 tax return forms and awaiting issuance if its tax clearance certificate.