For failure to pay the sum of N169, 145m, to the State Government, the Ondo High Court has ordered the State Government to seal off the premises of Nigeria Breweries in the state.
Justice W.A Akintoroye of the Ondo State High Court, Akure Judicial Division, gave the order in a judgment delivered on 27 January 2021, having listened carefully and read the submissions of both counsels.
He dismissed the petition filed by the Nigerian Breweries against Ondo State Government and two others and held that the ODSG had the constitutional right and that it was the constitutional duty of the Nigerian Breweries plc to pay the transport fee of N169, 145m to the Government, being the Principal to the transport .
Below is the full text of the court’s decision;
Nigerian Breweries Plc aggrieved by the demand notices served on it by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Ondo State for the payment of haulage fee instigated Mr. Solomon Igbaugba to file a petition on behalf of Nigerian Breweries plc (Petitioner) against the Ondo State Government & 2ors (Respondents) on the 22nd July, 2020, in suit no: AK/145/2020, where the petitioner claimed against the Respondents the following:
That the petitioner is not liable to pay haulage of goods (haulage business) as part of its object and business and the respondents cannot therefore demand the payment of haulage fee from the petitioner and/or enforce the payment of haulage fees purportedly due to the Respondent from Third parties transport/haulage companies against the petitioner
An order of the Court restraining the respondents from further demanding of haulage fees from the petitioner forthwith , as well as restraining the respondents from further harassing and intimidating the employees of the petitioner and from the unlawful disruption and closure of the petitioner’s business premises on the ground of non-payment of haulage fee…
An order of the Court directing and/or mandating the respondents to directly enforce the payment and/or collection of the alleged haulage fees due to them , directly form the third parties, transport companies, engaged by the petitioner to transport its drink to Akure, being the companies that actually engaged in haulage and/or haulage business, under the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, (Amendment) Order, 2015, to wit: AOP LOGISTICS LIMITED and TASHO NIGERIA LIMITED.
In response to the petition filed by the Petitioner-Nigerian Breweries plc., the Legal Team of the Ondo State Internal Revenue Service led by Mr. Adebayo Ogunsuyi filed an Answer on the 11th September, 2020 on behalf of the Ondo State Government and 2ors. Wherein he denied the averments of one Kelly Osadolor who deposed to the Affidavit the petitioner based its claims upon. And also filed a Cross-petition against Nigerian Breweries plc on the same date counter-claiming against the Nigerian Breweries plc the following
The total sum of N169,475,000.00k being the haulage fee for the period of April 2017 to December 2019 which Nigerian Breweries plc failed to pay despite demand notices served.
The cost of litigation And an Order Distraining and/or sealing up the business depot pending the settlement of Nigerian Breweries’ outstanding tax liabilities. Both parties in the suit, filed their written addresses, respectively to buttress their claims.
On the 27th January, 2021, Hon. Justice W.A Akintoroye of the Ondo State High Court, Akure Judicial Division, Court 2 having carefully listened and read the submissions of both counsel, dismissed the Petition filed by Nigerian Breweries against Ondo State Government & 2ors on the ground that the ODSG has the Constitutional right and it is the Constitutional duty of Nigerian Breweries plc to pay haulage fee to the Government being the Principal to the transport ag
Hence, the petition lacks merit. The Court in its Judgment granted the Cross-petition of ODSG for the recovery of the sum of N169,175,000.00k being haulage fee owed by the Nigerian Breweries plc for the period of 2017 to 2019.
The court also ordered that the Nigerian Breweries plc depot in Akure be distrained and sealed by ODSG pending the settlement of their tax liabilities to the Ondo State Government.