Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, decided to conduct a single hearing in a suit filed by a businessman, Aliko Dangote, through his company, Dangote Cement Plc against one of his keen competitors in the cement manufacturing sector, Ibeto Cement Company.
In the suit, Dangote is seeking the revocation of a purported waiver granted Ibeto Cement Company.
He equally wants the court to compel Ibeto and its subsidiaries to pay to the Federal Government some unpaid import duties estimated at billions of naira.
The judge, in a ruling on Tuesday, opted for a simultaneous hearing of Dangote’s originating motion and the defendants’ preliminary objection in order to save time.
She maintained her position to take all pending applications at once despite argument to the contrary by the two lead defence lawyers, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) and Fabian Ajogwu (SAN).
Named as defendants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/447/12 are Ibeto and its subsidiaries – IBG Investment Limited, Derima Ventures Ltd, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Others are Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Board of Customs and Excise, Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigeria Ports Authority.
According to Dangote, Ibeto, acting in concert with its subsidiaries, IBG and Derima Ventures, allegedly suppressed facts and acted fraudulently in obtaining a consent judgment against the Federal Government in consolidated suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/400/2006 and FHC/ABJ/CS/496/2010.
In the consent judgment, the court ordered the government to pay Ibeto about N7.8billion for the unjustified closure of its plant between 2005 and 2007 and set aside a 2010 presidential directive raising import duties and abolishing the import waiver granted Ibeto between 2007 to 2017.