Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Presidency denies lawmaker’s claim of over N89tn missing funds

The Presidency has debunked claims by a House of Representatives Member, Muhammed Gudaji Kazaure, that over N80 trillion of Stamp Duties funds by banks were siphoned.

Recalls that in an interview with BBC Hausa on Friday, the lawmaker representing the Kazaure, Roni, Gwiwa, Yankwashi Constituency of Jigawa State alleged that the Presidential Committee on the Reconciliation and Recovery of All Stamp Duties has accused some government agencies of sabotaging the committee’s efforts.

Kazaure, who said he serves as the committee’s secretary, discovered that N89.09tn has so far been realised from deductions by banks but has been siphoned.

The lawmaker alleged connivance by some critical operatives of the regime, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Protocol Department of the State House, to prevent him from briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the findings.

On Saturday night, reacting to the allegations, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said it was unconstitutional for a member of the Parliament to be Secretary of an Executive Committee.

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Shehu argued that the Presidential Committee in question had since been dissolved but noted that there is another Committee Chaired by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami set up in June 2020 by the President, which is still reconciling Stamp Duties accounts.

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The presidential spokesman said “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 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.”

Garba Shehu said 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 m, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation and nothing sensational has been discovered by them.

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“Issues of reconciliation are being handled,” Shehu said.

On allegations of being stopped from seeing the President to expose his findings, Shehu said such a claim is unfounded as Kazaure is known to be a friend of Buhari who enjoys express access to him.

He said “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. Gudaji is a friend of the President.

“He sees him as many times as he wants and he is welcomed to come and see him again and again.”

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