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17 private jet owners drag FG to court over tax

The planes belong to pastors, oil moguls, bank executives and businessmen.

17 private jet owners drag FG to court over tax. (Premium Times)
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In November 2021, the FG approved the decision of the Nigeria Customs Service to ground 91 private jets over the alleged failure of their owners to pay import duties running to over N30bn.

The planes belong to pastors, oil moguls, bank executives and businessmen.

Following the approval, the NCS directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency to ground the affected private jets with immediate effect, The Punch reports.

But the agencies could not carry out the directive due to issues bothering on inter-agency rivalry and disagreements.

However, the NCS has reportedly been making efforts in the past few months to perfect the process of grounding private jets, but some owners of the jets have also been making moves to truncate the efforts by dragging the FG before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

According to The Punch, the jet owners are seeking a judicial review as to whether it is lawful for them to pay the controversial import duty on their private jets or not.

The jet owners were reported to have sued the government using the foreign shell companies and trustees through which the foreign-registered jets were purchased.

The jet owners are asking the court to determine, among other things, if they were liable to pay import duty.

Some of the applicants, who are mostly foreign companies of the Nigerian jet owners are: Aircraft Trust and Financing Corp Trustee, UAML Corp, Bank of Utah Trustee, Masterjet AVIACAO Executive SA, and Cloud Services Limited.

Others are MHS Aviation GmbH, Murano Trust Company Limited, Panther Jets, SAIB LLC, Empire Aviation Group, and Osa Aviation Limited.

In the court documents, the NCAA and Customs were listed as respondents.

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