A federal high court in Abuja has stopped the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) from spending internally generated revenue (IGR) accrued by the agency for 2018 and 2019.
The amount, according to court papers seeing by PREMIUM TIMES, stands at N5.6 billion.
The restraining order was given following an ex-parte motion in a suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/1448/2019 filed by a member of the NIPC’s council, Ali Sani.
The judge, A. I Chikere, ordered the NIPC management to halt spending the amount for any purpose.
Joined as respondents in the case are NIPC, the chairman of the governing council of the commission, Babangida Nguroje and the NIPC executive secretary, Yewande Sadiku.
Last month, PREMIUM TIMES reported the frosty relationship between the NIPC executive secretary and the governing council.
Mr Sani had earlier in the year written to Ms Sadiku questioning the payment of millions of naira each year to herself ”in the name of foreign leave allowance”.
Mr Sani alleged that the executive secretary collected over N40 million for 2017 and 2018.
Ms Sadiku did not say how much she received in her response to the board member, but she later told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Sani’s figures were exaggerated.
She explained in a response to Mr Sani that her receipt of the allowance was based on a 14-year board-approved practice in the agency and a ministerial approval for increment obtained in 2013.
Mr Sani, however, insisted that the board has no role in approving remuneration for its members—which includes the executive secretary.
Citing provisions of the NIPC establishment Act and the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) Act, Mr Sani described the 2005 council’s decision as illegal.
The N5.6 billion internally generated revenue under contention is proceeds of the commission’s income from implementing the federal government’s Pioneer Status Incentive (PSI).
Under the PSI programme, companies considered as pioneers in their investment areas get tax holidays for three years to enable stability.
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The holiday could also be extended for another two years once the NIPC is satisfied to grant such extensions.
The commission regards monies it made in administering the process and 1 per cent cut it gets on profits recorded by those companies as internally generated revenue.
The governing council of the commission had earlier consented to the utilisation of the funds by the management.
In his suit, Mr Sani sought court’s order to declare spending of the funds as illegal as the expenditure did not go through federal government’s budget processes.
He prayed the court to compel the NIPC to remit all revenues to the consolidated revenue account of the federal government, in line with constitutional provisions.
The plaintiff also sought the court’s intervention to stop the executive secretary from taking decision on the PSI applications without recourse to the governing council.
Mr Sani asked the court if by the provision of Section 2(2)(f) of the NIPC Act the executive secretary’s function is not only restricted to receive such applications and present them for consideration of the governing board.
Court blocks funds
In her ruling on the ex-parte motion moved on December 16, Justice Chikere consented to two prayers of the applicants stopping spending of the IGR.
The restraint, according to the court order, also include expenditure for 2020 from the same funds.
The judge adjourned the case till February 13, 2020.