9Mobile dragged to court over unpaid N4.5 billion ITF statutory contribution

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There is no respite yet for the crisis rocking ETISALAT that has now metamorphosed to 9MOBILE has taken as Industrial training Fund and its Director General have renewed their legal battle against the Telecommunication giant in a bid to collect 
statutory contributions in the sum of N4,5570,093,340.57 from the company.

In a statement of  claim filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer Dr Clifford Okoye, it was alleged that ETISALAT, is an employer  of labour, Carrying on business in Nigeria, with its head office situate at plot 19, Zonal Federal Government, layout, Banana off shore island Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria.

Despite repeated demands on the defendant by the I T F and its external solicitors 
Dr Clifford Okoye to pay the outstanding balance of I T F statutory contributions for the year 2011 to 2015 amounting  to a total sum of N 4,5570,093,340.57 due and owed by the 9mobile company to the plaintiff but the defendant has failed, refused and neglected to do so without any justification whatsoever.   

Wherefore the plaintiffs claim against the defendant is as follows: a liquidated debt of N4, 570, 093, 340, 57 being the total outstanding balance of statutory contribution due and owed by the defendant to the plaintiffs for year 2011 to 2015.

Interest on the said sum at the rate of 5% per month on the outstanding debit commencing from 12th July 2017 until judgement is delivered.

However, in a statement of defence filed before the court by Mrs Funke Adekoya SAN on behalf of the telecommunication company, the company averred that it does not owe the ITF the sum of N4,570,093,340.57 or any sum whatsoever which was wrongly assessed as paid statutory training contribution to the ITF as alleged by the Plaintiffs, as the company has duly paid total sum of N673,129.66 for the years 2011 to 2015.

The company also contended that it is entitled to a refund of N275,863,868.93 amount it overpaid to the ITF as its statutory training contributing for the period of 2011 to 2015 therefore counter claim in the sum of N275,863.93 consequently urge the count to direct ITF to refund the overpayment back to it.

    However In its  reply to the defence of the Telecommunication company, ITF averred that the payment made by the defendants were all done after the defendants self assessment of what it believe were its due statutory contributions to the fund in respect of those years, but after the verification exercise by ITF on the books of the defendant,the defendant was rather embarrassed for being, as they were caught in the act of evading its statutory liability for the pass years.

Consequently the belated objections now being raised after five years by the defendant are mere after thought, as  the defendants did not make any excess payments to the plaintiffs as computed and certified by its competent and reliable accountants and Human Resources Managers.

Therefore the plaintiffs are urging the court to discountenance the counter claim of the defendant as same is frivolous ,vexatious and lack merit.

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