Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has written to the 36 state governors, seeking compliance with audit and recovery of stamp duty for the period spanning January 15, 2016, to June 30, 2020.
His Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
The statement reads: “Pursuant to Mr. President’s approval and directives, I also wish to request you to direct state ministries, departments, agencies and regulatory institutions of the 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 notes further that Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act grants the Attorney General of the Federation exclusive power to recover any outstanding payment or remittances related to stamp duty.
The Stamp Duty Act provides that “all duties, fines, penalties, and debts due to the government of the federation imposed by this Act shall be recoverable in a summary manner in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation or the State”.
“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.
“In view of the need to provide a comprehensive overview of the process and to proper understanding the task, the Attorney General of the Federation organized a meeting with Attorneys General of States for they have similar powers with respect of stamp duty of Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Financial Institutions in their respective states,” he said.
The Attorneys-General of the 36 states of the federation had sued Malami over alleged failure of Nigerian government to remit funds generated from stamp duties into the accounts of state governments.
According to the states, they are the sole authorities to collect stamp duties and not the Nigerian government.