Presidency denies knowledge of missing N89trn stamp duty fund

Spread the love

Abuja, Dec. 14, 2022 – The Presidency has denied knowledge of any missing N89 trillion stamp duty fund leveled against some key officials of the federal government.

Mallam Garba Sheu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, made the denial in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday while responding to the allegation made by Gudaji Kazaure, a member of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Mismanagement or Embezzlement of Stamp Duty Funds.

Kazaure had accused key officials of the federal government of cover-ups during the investigation into the alleged missing funds in a recent BBC interview.

He had alleged that N89.09 trillion deducted as stamp duty by some banks had been realised, but the funds had not made it to the federal government’s coffers.

Kazaure said some critical operatives of government, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Protocol Department of the State House, had connived and prevented him from briefing the President on the findings of the committee so far.

The lawmaker said he was blocked from meeting president Buhari in order to brief the president on progress reports on efforts to trace trapped money.

Sheu, recalling the history of the stamp duty fund, said that when the President Buhari came into office in 2015, he found that a law which stipulated the collection of a “token” on banking transactions existed, but was not being correctly implemented.

He said this anomaly arose because certain officials had apparently formed a cartel with collaborators in the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and were allegedly “collecting and pocketing this money”.

“Soon after, a non-government organisation told the administration that the Nigerian government had lost the sum of over N20 trillion to the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System ((NIBSS) between 2013-2016 in this regard, claiming that the said sum could be recovered and paid back into the government coffers.

“The consultants asked to be paid a professional fee of 7.5 percent and were placed under the supervision of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),” he said.

“Following the lack of progress in the promised recovery, the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, wrote on March 8, 2018 to the SGF conveying a presidential directive that following the lack of progress and several expressed concerns received, the activities of the consultants be discontinued

“In the aftermath of this dismissal, the consultants sued the government.

“A court of competent jurisdiction subsequently ruled in favour of the government.”

“Arising from the outcome of the litigation and the well-known controversy on the legally responsible agent for collecting this levy, the administration went to the National Assembly and caused an amendment to the law and removed NIPOST from the duty of its collection,” Sheu said.

He said having lost a potentially “lucrative line of business,” the sacked characters returned to the drawing board to formulate one form of trick or another to intimidate the government, but the vigilant teams of the administration kept them at bay

Shehu said that they returned lately to the government through “Honourable Muhammadu Gudaji Kazaure with a plan to track the so-called lost stamp duties with the erstwhile consultant as chairman and Honourable Gudaji as secretary.

“When it emerged that the petitioner and lead consultant of the committee the President had dissolved via the late Abba Kyari’s letter of March 28 had masqueraded himself and re-emerged as the chairman of the new recovery committee championed by the Hon. Gudaji, the President rescinded the approval he gave and asked that it be stopped from operating under the seal of his office.

“In addition to this committee being chaired by a petitioner, there were also other concerns relating to natural justice and fair hearing in having the chief justice of the federation as a committee member and a serving member of the house of representatives as secretary, which are not in line with section 5(1),(a)&(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“Once the president rescinded his approval to constitute this committee, [it] lost all legitimacy.

“Arguments, have in recent days, been flying left and right over the rightfulness of a committee being dissolved.

“People are entitled to hold opinions. But these opinions do not change the fact that under our constitution, the power of the president to appoint and remove persons or groups is duly entrenched and unless such powers are shared with the parliament, the President can hire and fire literally at will, and in line with the

  “Let me inform that Mr. President has not completely ignored these matters. Indeed, a duly authorised committee under the attorney-general and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is working to reconcile, recover and transfer all stamp duties into stamp duties central account.

“The work is ongoing, it is not finished yet and the President will continue to show his keen interest in the matter of stamp duty collection,” Garba said. (GBN)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *