The University of? Jos on Tuesday said it owed the Plateau Board of Internal Revenue “only a little over N300 million'' as against N3.8 billion claimed by the board.
Mr Ninnan Denden, counsel to the university, told the Federal High Court in Jos that “even though we just got the brief yesterday, the university does not owe the board such a huge amount“.
“What we are aware of is something a little above N300 million and not N3.8 billion as quoted by the board of internal revenue.’’
The board, through its counsel, Mr Philemon Dafi, had on Feb. 28, sued the university over alleged unpaid N3.8 billion taxes before Justice Ambrose Allagoa.
The board accused the university of “deliberately’’ withholding the amount, being outstanding unremitted tax liabilities of? Pay as You Earn (PAYE) of its employees between 2005 and 2010.
Dafi claimed that in pursuance to the Personal Income tax Act 2011 (as amended), the court should compel the institution to pay the accumulated unpaid tax to the board without further delay.
He alleged that the board tried to make the university see reasons why it should cooperate and pay up the debt, but that all such entreaties were rebuffed.
The board also prayed for imposition of penalty and interest on the university over its failure to file tax returns and remit the tax collected when due within 90 days as required by law.
Dafi urged the court to compel the university to pay its taxes just as other federal institutions as a proof of a “statutorily responsible corporate organisation’’.
When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, Denden asked for adjournment, to enable him to reply properly to the writ.
But Dafi opposed the application, saying that the university was served very well with enough time for it to have replied the writ for hearing of the case.
He, however, said if at all the court would consider the application, he would ask for N250,000 costs.
“My Lord, I am opposing the application for adjournment, but in the event the court will grant it, I have no option than to ask for cost of N250,000 because I came all the way from Kano for this case.’’
Allogoa granted Denden’s application and awarded a cost of N30,000 to Dafi.