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 unfreeze his account.
Esezoobo in a fundamental suit marked FHC/L/CS/1736/19, want the court to order the defendants (FIRS and First Bank Plc) to unfreeze and release forthwith the restrictions of access placed on his bank account domicile in Shomolu branch of the First Bank Plc, which is the second respondent.
In asking the court for the order, the lawyer alleged that FIRS illegally frozen his Chambers’ account on allegation of tax default in the sum of N54, 639, 286.48 million, which was was never communicated to him and without due process of law.
He is therefore urging this court for an order for a declaration that the action of the respondents in freezing and continuous freezing of his Current account no 2005033924 of J. Odion Esezoobo & Co, Destiny Chambers and domicile in Shomolu branch of the second 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, million, which was never communicated to an unlawful deprivation of his fundamental right to his private property guarantee by Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution as amended”.
Esezoobo, in a 19-paragraph averment attached with the motion on notice, stated that the respondents sidestep the provisions of law in all respect and raised a tax liability against him without due process of law and therefore embarrassed him.
He stated the bank owes a duty to keep his account confidential as well as the money therein safe 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 fist 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 account”.
He therefore want the court to set aside first respondent claim of N54, 639, 286. 48 million and the purported penalty of N100. 000.00 together with additional penalty of N5,000.00 for six years as unconstitutional illegal null and void
He prayed for, “An order of payment of N50 million as exemplary damages against FIRS and First Bank Plc, jointly and severally for unlawful deprivation of applicant fundamental right.
Neither the FIRS or First Bank Plc have filled any defence to the suit.
However, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, has fixed December 12, for the hearing of the suit.