Ndubuisi Orji, and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee probing alleged non-remittance of stamp duty into the Federation Account, yesterday, threatened to issue bench warrant against Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of banks that failed to honour its summon.
The Ad-hoc Committee, which is investigating alleged non-remittances of stamp duties, amounting to trillions of naira into the Federation Account since 2010, expressed dismay that most of the bank chiefs invited for the investigative hearing sent representatives, who are below management cadre.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Abubakar Yunusa Ahmad, stated the bank chiefs must appear before the panel in person or represented by officers not below the rank of executive director.
He warned that any representative below that rank will be treated like a spectator while a bench warrant will be issued against the CEO of the affected banks.
Ahmad said the House is worried about alleged non-remittance of stamp duty collected on behalf of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) by commercial banks into the Federation Account.
The lawmaker noted the investigative hearing is aimed at determining the exact amount generated from stamp duty, the location of the fund and when it was not remitted to the Federation Account.
In its submission before the panel, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which was represented by its acting Director, Banking Services, Abubakar Kure, said that the collection of stamp duty by commercial banks in the country started on February 3, 2016. Kure added that the total money collected by the banks as stamp duty on behalf of NIPOST from 2016 to date is N35,240,916,338.54.
He explained that that the money has not been remitted to the Federation Account because of litigation, adding that once the suit currently pending at the Supreme Court is decided, the money will be remitted into the Federation Account. “We submitted bank statement from 2016 to date stating all the collection of stamp duties dated may 13th. Also submitted were details of bank-by-bank collections.
“Stamp duties collected have not been remitted to the Federation Account as we have not received instructions from the account owners. We are also aware of a litigation pending at the Supreme Court preventing the movement of the funds into the Federation Account, but once that’s dealt with and instruction from relevant agencies such as NIPOST to remit same, we will do so.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday approved $1 billion Chinese loan from Chinese EXIM Bank for the Gurara II Hydropower project which has the capacity to generate 360 megawatts electricity.
Minister of Water Resources, Sulieman Adamu, said the approval was part of the four memos the Council endorsed for the ministry at yesterday’s meeting.
The Debt Management Office had last month disclosed that Nigeria’s total debt profile as of December 31, 2018, stood at N24.387 trillion.
The figure swelled by 12.25 per cent from N21.725 trillion in 2017 to N24.39 trillion in 2018.