By Victor Bieni, Asaba
Justice V. O. Agboje (Mrs) of High Court 4, Warri in a historic judgement delivered on 14th Day of April, 2022 dismissed as unconstitutional the ex parte judgement obtained against De Wayles International Ltd by the Delta State Revenue Court in favour of Delta State Government, precisely the State’s Internal Revenue Service as the State High Court Judge ruled that, the claimant was not given any opportunity to fair hearing before the judgment to seal the office was given.
Our reporter learnt this today being on Friday, 15th April, 2022 from the documents of judgement of State High Court 4, Warri, Delta State which was made available to some group of Journalists in Asaba, Delta State by a manager of “De Wayles International Ltd” as Company wins Ground Rent case against “Delta State Government, Delta State Internal Revenue Service”.
It could be recalled that on the 5th of October, 2021, officers of Delta State Internal Revenue Service sealed up the head office of De Wayles International Ltd, Effurun-Warri after a forceful evacuation of all the staff, workers and visitors of the company on the basis of executing the order of the judgement of the Delta State Revenue Court as delivered on the 7th Day of September, 2021.
The media learnt that, “The Delta State Internal Revenue Service prior to the purpoted sealing-off and evacuation of the Company’s workers (staff), had dragged the Company before the Revenue Court without the knowledge of the Company on the allegation that the De Wayles International Ltd, Efurun was owing Delta State Government the sum of N40, 792,000.00 as GROUND RENT for the State’s IGR for the year ended 2016 and 2017.
Consequent upon the above, De Wayles International Ltd, the claimant being aggrieved by this unlawful sealing of her office and the ex parte judgement made against her by the Delta State Revenue Court sued the Governor of Delta State and the Delta State Internal Revenue Service in an originating summons dated 8th day of October, 2021 instituted by J. O. Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq. on behalf of the company in Warri High Court in Suit No. W/219/2021: De Wayles International Ltd Vs The Governor of Delta State & Delta State Internal Revenue Service as Claimant and Defendants respectively.
In the Judgment delivered in the case on the 14th of April, 2021 by Hon. Justice V. O. Agboje (Mrs.) sitting at High Court 4, Warri, the court held that the sealing up of the office of the company by officers of the Delta State Internal Revenue Service on the 5th of October, 2021on an ex parte judgment and without giving the Claimant an opportunity to be held was unconstitutional.
The court having ruled as unconstitutional for not giving the claimant fair hearing, threw out the ex parte judgment of the Delta State Revenue Court. Consequently, Hon. Justice V. O. Agboje (Mrs.) awarded the sum of N500,000 as cost against the Delta State Government in favour of De Wayles International Ltd.