Mr Malami insists that the Stamp Duty Act mandates him to recover all stamp duty funds.
Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi
Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of the federation, has written the 36 states attorneys in Nigeria on the issue of non remittance of stamp duties funds to state accounts.
“The letters were written pursuant to the provision of Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act which provides that “all duties, fines, penalties and debts due to the Government of the Federation imposed by this Act shall be recoverable in a summarily manner in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation or the State,” the letter said.
In a statement by Mr Malami’s spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, the justice minister said he sought to comply with audit in order to recover stamp duty funds from 2016-2020 as demanded by the Nigerian state attorneys.
He noted that no actual recovery has been made. However, liabilities are being established, he said.
The recovery process which seem to be a reaction to the law suit instituted against Mr Malami by the state attorneys, “are being conducted for the Federal Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Financial Institutions.”
The statement revealed that the federal government has set up an inter-ministerial committee on audit and recovery of back year stamp duties between January 15, 2016 and June 30, 2020.
“Members of the committee were drawn from Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in collaboration with relevant Agencies including the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission, among others.”
According to the statement, the Act granted Mr Malami power to recover stamp duty funds.
“Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act granted the Attorney General of the Federation an exclusive power to recover any outstanding payment or remittances related to stamp duty.”
Mr Gwandu noted that the process of audit and recovery of back year stamp duty funds is in obedience to President Muhammadu Buhari’s orders.
“Pursuant to Mr President’s approval and directives, I also wish to request Your Excellency to direct the State Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and Regulatory Institutions of Financial Sector to engage and grant access to the appointed Recovery Agents for the purpose of the Audit and Recovery of Stamp Duty to ensure that all established liabilities are remitted as appropriate,” the statement reads.
Thirty-six state attorneys in Nigeria had sued Mr Malami over non remittance of stamp duty funds generated from the states.
The state attorneys sought an order of the court to mandate Mr Malami to pay the sum of N176 billion for backlog of stamp duties received from individual persons transactions between 2015 and 2020.