The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has dismissed the suit filed by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) against the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The Federal High Court sometime in 2016 entered a judgment in favour of NLNG by exempting the gas company from paying levies to NIMASA
NIMASA, not satisfied with the judgment, engaged the services of Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN) to immediately file an appeal against the said judgement of the Federal High Court.
However in a statement issued by the Head, Corporate Communication, NIMASA, Isichei Osamgbi, on Friday, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba, who ruled over the case, reaffirmed NIMASA’s powers to continue to collect the levies from NLNG.
Garba, basing his judgment on the fact that NIMASA was not given a fair hearing at the high court, ordered the return of the case to the lower court for fresh trial under a different judge.
It would be recalled that the dispute between NLNG and NIMASA is based on the refusal by NLNG to pay 3% of the gross freight on all international outbound and inbound cargo carried by ships chartered by NLNG and its wholly-owned subsidiary company as contained in the NIMASA Act 2007.
The refusal by NLNG to pay the 2% surcharge on cabotage trade undertaken by its vessels within 200 nautical miles of the baselines and Nigerian coastal and inland waters as contained in the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003; and the refusal by NLNG to comply with the Marine Environment (Sea Protection Levy) Regulations of 2012 and the Merchant Shipping (Ship Generated Marine Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations 2012.