Presidency Speaks On Alleged Embezzlement Of Stamp Duties Funds

The Presidency has refuted the allegation of misappropriation or embezzlement of Stamp Duties funds and cover-ups by officials of the administration.

Naija News reports that a member of the House of Representatives, Gudaji Kazaure, had alleged that officials of 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, were involved in the misappropriation or embezzlement of Stamp Duties funds.

Gudaji, who said he is the Secretary of the Presidential Committee on the Reconciliation and Recovery of All Stamp Duties, made the allegations in an interview on Friday.

The lawmaker claimed that he was blocked from meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in order to brief him on the progress report on efforts to trace the misappropriated N89.09trn.

Reacting in a statement on Saturday, Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, described the allegations made by the lawmaker as mere nonsense, saying that the entire net worth of Nigeria’s financial sector is not up to N50trn.

Shehu said it was absurd that a member of the Parliament would claim to be Secretary of an Executive Committee, adding that such a situation would be unconstitutional.

He, however, said President Buhari had since dissolved the committee Gudaji is claiming to be Secretary, stressing that such a committee does not exist again.

Shehu added that there is another committee, chaired by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, set up in June 2020 by the President, which is still executing the task of reconciling Stamp Duties accounts.

The statement reads: “In the first instance, the committee on the alleged loss of stamp duty funds he is talking about is an illegal committee; it was dissolved on the directive of the President.

“Anyone familiar with our constitution will find it curious that a member of the Parliament is the secretary of an Executive Committee. It suffices to say that the entire net worth of the nation’s financial sector, the assets of the banking sector put together, is not worth N50 trillion, not to talk of the kind of money he is talking about.

“The Central Bank assures that there is absolutely no problem, whatsoever, with money from Stamp Duties.

“There is a committee duly set up by the President in June 2020, chaired by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and the Secretary is the Chairman of the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS) that is currently reconciling the stamp duty accounts. The job is not finished. As it is, there is nothing to give credence to wild accusations made against the administration.

“Following speculation and the many allegations, earlier investigations were commissioned by government departments and agencies, including the Ministry of Finance, the Revenue Mobilisation, and Fiscal Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation and nothing sensational has been discovered by them. Issues of reconciliation are being handled.

Shehu also denied the claim that Gudaji had been prevented from meeting with the President in his efforts to expose his findings to him.

The Presidential spokesman noted that the lawmaker is known to be a friend of the President who has unfettered access whenever he wishes to see him.

As for Hon. Gudaji seeing the President, I’ll like to assure you that there is nobody that can stop him from seeing the number one citizen. Hon. Gudaji is a friend of the President. He sees him as many times as he wants and he is welcome to come and see him again and again,” he said.

This article was originally published on Naija News

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