Emefiele Breaks Silence On N89trn Stamp Duty Fraud Allegation, Says Only N370.89bn Collected In Six Years
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has finally broken his silence on the allegation that the apex bank withheld N89trn realized from stamp duty revenues.
The governor on Tuesday expressed surprise that such conversations will come up considering the size of the banking system.
He said during the Monetary Policy Committee Meeting that the said amount is far bigger than the total asset of the entire banking industry in the country.
The apex bank boss revealed that N370.89bn has been collected between 2016 to date.
Emefiele said, “N89trn is so large. The total asset of the banking industry if you understand accounting is about N71trn or N71.5trn. The total deposit of the banking system is N44.49trn. So, how then is it possible that stamp duty is N89trn while a deposit of banks is N44.49trn.
“So, when it became a story everywhere, we went into our records, told Banking Supervision, Banking Payment System to go into the system and rake out the total amount that has been collected on stamp duty from 2016 to date.
“We told our people in Banking Supervision to contact the banks. Let the banks give us from their records how much they have collected from 2016 to date and tell the banks to sign on their headed paper that this is the amount they have collected on Stamp Duty from 2016 to date.
“The report that we have in CBN is that Stamp Duty collected to date is N370,886,315,505.28. This is public accounts. We owe Nigeria public accountability. Out of that, the Federal Inland Revenue or the Ministry of Finance has disbursed to Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) N226,451,720,158.88.
“And the balance with the account of the CBN is N144,234,535,346.40. We did calculations and the highest collection from the oldest bank in Nigeria, First Bank, collected N71.6bn in seven years. I truly don’t know where N89trn is?”
The reaction is in response to a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Muhammed Kazaure, who claimed that Emefiele siphoned the sum of N89trn which had allegedly accrued to the federation.
Kazaure alleged in December last year that about N89.1trn realized from the collection of N50 Stamp duty and bank charges from all transactions valued above N2,000 between 2017 and 2020 it kept with the CBN, was missing.
Kazaure also claimed that it was also discovered that the CBN was charging another N100 from every transaction above N5,000, the proceeds of which were going into private accounts, with the apex bank and the 27 commercial banks in the country sharing in the ratio 60:40.
According to the lawmaker, between April 2017 when the I&E Window account was opened, and April 2000, accrual from stamp duty and bank charges from transactions on Forex totaled about $171bn.
But Emefiele said “The truth is that the CBN will not be joined in any argument with anybody because it will overheat the system. But it is important for me to say that Stamp Duty is the revenue that needs to be collected from people who are conducting electronic transfers. It is about public accounts and accountability.
“I do not want to make any statement that will overheat the system. I don’t understand how the Central Bank started forcing banks in 2016 to collect stamp duty because we feel it is a source of revenue generation opportunity. How can that same Central Bank begin to withhold N89trn. It beats our imagination that those kinds of arguments can come.
“We at Central Bank we have said we will continue to look for it. What have we done? We have engaged the big four audit firms, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Ernst & Young and Deloitte to go to the banks and do a forensic audit of all stamp duty.
“Maybe by the time they simulate the number of transactions, they will see it and if there is any uncollected stamp Duty, we will force the banks they pay to the last one penny.”