17 Private Jet Owners Sue The Federal Government Over Tax
Pastors, oil tycoons, bankers, and businessmen own the planes.
By Omotayo Olutekunbi
A minimum of 17 owners of private jets have filed lawsuits against the federal government to stop it from ordering the grounding of their aircraft.
The FG gave its approval to the Nigeria Customs Service’s intention to halt 91 private jets in November 2021 due to the owners’ alleged inability to pay import charges totaling more than N30 billion.
Pastors, oil tycoons, bank executives, and businesspeople are the owners of the aircraft.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency were ordered by the NCS to ground the impacted private planes with immediate effect after the authorization, according to The Punch.
However, inter-agency rivalries and conflicts prevented the agencies from implementing the instruction.
The NCS has apparently been working on improving the procedure for suspending private planes over the past several months, but some of the jet owners have reportedly been working to thwart the measures by taking the FG to the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Punch reports that the jet owners are requesting a court review to determine whether or not they are required to pay the contentious import charge on their private aircraft.
Using the overseas shell companies and trustees used to buy the foreign-registered planes, the jet owners allegedly sued the government.
The owners of the plane are requesting that the court decide, among other things, whether they were required to pay import duty.
Aircraft Trust and Financing Corp Trustee, UAML Corp, Bank of Utah Trustee, Masterjet AVIACAO Executive SA, and Cloud Services Limited are a few of the applications, most of which are foreign firms owned by Nigerian jet owners.
Others include Panther Jets, SAIB LLC, Empire Aviation Group, Osa Aviation Limited, MHS Aviation GmbH, Murano Trust Company Limited, and SAIB.
The NCAA and Customs were designated as respondents in the court filings.
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