Following controversies trailing a claim of a missing N89.09tn allegedly siphoned from stamp duty charges, the Presidency on Tuesday said such claims were fake.
It also said the entire banking sector deposits in Nigerian did not amount to half of N89tn.
“It is now evident that the consultants and petitioners’ claims of a missing N89tn from stamp duty appears false and a figment of their malicious imaginations. The same set of consultants claimed in 2016 there was N20tn to be collected. It was found to be false. The entire banking sector deposit is not even up to half of N89 trillion.
“Indeed, if the Federal Government can find N89tn Naira, it can pay off all its debt, both foreign and local currency and all state government debts and still have over N10tn left,” a statement signed on Tuesday evening by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, read.
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The statement was entitled, Stamp duty: facts Nigerians need to have.
In an interview with BBC Hausa last Friday, the lawmaker representing the Kazaure, Roni, Gwiwa and Yankwashi Constituency of Jigawa State, at the lower chambers, alleged that the Presidential Committee on the Reconciliation and Recovery of All Stamp Duties had accused some government agencies of sabotaging the committee’s efforts.
According to Kazaure, who said he serves as the committee’s secretary, it discovered that N89.09tn had so far been realised from deductions by banks but these hadnot made it to the FG’s coffers.
He alleged connivance by some critical operatives of the regime, 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, preventing him from briefing the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on the findings.
But reacting to the claims on Tuesday, the Presidency said while there was a committee empowered by the President to look recover a sum of N20tn allegedly lost to the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System, the President rescinded his approval upon realising actual plan of said committee.
It explained that this ‘anomaly’ arose because certain characters apparently formed a cartel with collaborators in the Nigerian Postal Service and were allegedly collecting and pocketing tokens on banking transactions.
Soon after, a non-government organisation posited to the regime that the Nigerian government had lost the sum of over N20tn to the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System between 2013 and 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 per cent and were placed under the supervision of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“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,” the Presidency noted in the statement.
It said arising from the outcome of the litigation and the controversy on the legally responsible agent for collecting this levy, the regime caused an amendment to the law and removed NIPOST from the duty of its collection.
Shehu claimed that the sacked persons 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.
“Lately, they returned to the government through Hon. Muhammadu Kazaure with a plan to track the so-called lost stamp duties with the erstwhile consultant as chairman and Hon. 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,” Shehu further explained.