Presidency provides details on N89trn stamp duty, counters Kazaure on missing funds

The presidency says there is now evidence that the claims of a missing N89.09 trillion from stamp duty “appears to be false”.

Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president, said this while providing details on the stamp duty controversy in a statement on Tuesday.

Gudaji Kazaure, member of the house of representatives on mismanagement or embezzlement of stamp duty funds, had accused administration officials of “cover-ups” in the investigation of the funds.

In a recent interview, Kazaure, who said he is also the secretary of the presidential committee on the reconciliation and recovery of all stamp duties, alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (OSGF), and the protocol department of the state house, conspired to prevent him from briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the findings so far made.

The lawmaker alleged that he was blocked from meeting Buhari in order to brief him on progress reports on efforts to trace trapped N89.09 trillion.


But providing details on the issue, Shehu explained that President Muhammadu Buhari came into office in 2015 to find that a law, which stipulated for the collection of a “token on banking transactions existed but was not being correctly implemented”.

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

Soon after, according to Shehu, a non-government organisation posited to 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, Shehu said the administration went to the national assembly and caused an amendment to the law and removed NIPOST from the duty of its collection.

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”.

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