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Published On: Tue, Oct 17th, 2017

High court dismisses case challenging legality of Kaduna tax law

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From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

A Kaduna High Court, has dismissed a case challenging the legality of the Kaduna Tax Codification and Consolidation Law, 2016, brought before it, for wants of jurisdiction.
Justice David Wyom, in his judgment, said that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case on the ground that Gov Nasir El-Rufai, whom the matter affects was not made a party in the suit.
Wyom, therefore, dismissed the matter and deemed it an academic exercise to go into other issues canvassed by both counsels in the case.
Malam Yahaya Shinko had on January 12, dragged Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS), its Chairman, Muhkar Ahmed and the Kaduna State House of Assembly as first, second and third respondents respectively, before Justice Wyom.
Shinko was appointed Interim Management Committee Chairman of Kaduna South Local Government Area of the state on July 9, 2015.
He was reappointed for same position on April 4, 2016 before he was relieved of his duty on Oct. 17, 2016 on matters concerning financial management.
His counsel, Ibrahim Bello, asked the court to declare that the Kaduna State Tax Codification and Consolidation Law, 2016, and collection of Local Government revenues, fees, taxes, rates by KADIRS were unconstitutional.
Bello argued that the enactment of the law contravened the provisions of Section 4 (2) and (7), paragraph b of the 1999 constitution as amended with respect to collection of tax.
He also asked the court to declare that the collection of N1,000 as shop fees by FAHAN Resources Ltd. on behalf of Kaduna South Local Government in cash was valid.
He hinged his argument on the provision of the Kaduna State Local Government Administration Law, 2012 which gave LGAs power to charge or collect levies and fees.
But counsel to the first and second respondents, Mr. Francis Kozah, argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter because proper parties are not before the court.
Kozah explained that the actions the plaintiff was challenging are the actions the Governor of Kaduna State have taken, but failed to make the governor a party to the suit.
“It is well settled law and practice that the court cannot give a judgment against a person who will be affected by its decision if such a person is not made a party, or has no opportunity of defending the suit.
“The court, therefore, has no jurisdiction to decide the fate of a person or matter concerning him when such a person is not made a party to the action, “he added.
According to him, failure of the plaintiff to make El-Rufai a party in the case has robed the court the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

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