By ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
LAGOS—Lagos State Government has asked the Court of Appeal, Lagos, to reject the prayer by Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited seeking for a conditional stay of execution of the N138. 7 million judgment debt being deduction and remittance of taxes due to the state government.
Aside, the government prayed the court to dismiss the company’s appeal against the judgment of Justice Raliatu Adebiyi of a Lagos High Court which ordered the company to pay N138, 798, 507.43 as taxes to the government.
In a motion by Solicitor-General of Lagos State, Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN, the state urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal by Shell on the ground that there was no pending appeal before the court.
Meanwhile, the appellate court could not hear the appeal as it could not form the required quorum. Besides, Lagos State is praying the court to set aside the request by Shell seeking for a conditional stay of execution of the judgment of the trial court made on April 21, 2008 which directed the Chief Registrar of the high court to pay the judgment sum to the respondent/applicant (Lagos State).
Lagos State stated in a 28-paragraph affidavit in support of the Motion on Notice deposed to by one Tolulope Aderiye, averred that the lower court had on April 21, 2008 granted a conditional stay of execution of its judgment and directed Shell (appellant) to pay the judgment sum into an account with the Chief Registrar of the high court of Lagos state pending the determination of the appeal.
The government told the court that the record of proceedings in the lower court based on the appeal had been transmitted to the appellate court since May 30, 2008 and up till now the appellant had deliberately failed to file its brief but “busy in filing different types of spurious applications.”
The Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue had by a writ of summons and statement of claim dated September 2005 sued n Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited for N182, 503, 530.11, being amount of tax allegedly withheld by the oil company for the 1999-2001 taxation years.
The appellant (Shell) defended the action and on March 7, 2008, the lower court in its judgment ordered the oil giant to pay N138, 798, 507.43 to the Lagos State Government.
Dissatisfied, Shell appealed against the judgment and urged the appellate court to stay execution f the said judgment.