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STAMP DUTY: HURIWA shades Garba Shehu, tasks EFCC to probe N89trn fraud allegation



Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Friday tasked the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to thoroughly investigate the alleged theft of stamp duty proceeds of N89 trillion.

This was in reaction to the recent statement from the media assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, defending the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, following a revelation by a member of House of Representatives, Gudaji Kazaure, on the said amount.

Kazaure had raised the alarm of alleged theft of stamp duty proceeds running into N89 trillion, saying he was in possession of valid documents that proved the existence of such funds in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) custody.

The lawmaker alleged that the CBN had not remitted stamp duty revenue to government coffers as tax, insisting that the bank remitted only 60 per cent to the government while 40 per cent went to private pockets.

Shehu in his defence said even though as of April 2020, the total amount of foreign exchange traded was about $171 billion, the amount did not mean that Nigeria had $171 billion stacked away in some vault or saved in any account.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, described Shehu’s defence as baseless and insufficient.

The group called for the sack of CBN Governor and charged EFCC to uncover the principal actors behind the stamp.

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The statement read: “The perfunctory and spineless defence by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu leaves any rational Nigerian in the sea of wonders! In one breath, Shehu claimed there is no fraud in the collection of stamp duty and in another breath, he claimed a committee has been set up to recover and reconcile stamp duties. What a sham! Grand doublespeak and coverup!

“HURIWA rejects Shehu’s insufficient explanation. Federal Government officials should cover their faces in shame if they are telling us this cock and bull story of consultants conspiring to loot stamp duty funds belonging to the members of the public. The government telling us about some ghost consultants is nonsense. This government must cough out this huge money or the principal characters behind the theft should prepare for prison life after government.

“The EFCC and private investigators/auditors should be allowed to probe this matter and not the office of the AGF which is also in this alleged scam/ mess by being a member of this government. Nothing truthful can emerge from the Malami committee.

“President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately sack Emefiele for a transparent and objective investigation into this huge allegation by Kazaure. Anything aside from this is nonsense and won’t be tolerated.”

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