By Chioma Iruke
Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has been sued by Attorneys General of the country’s 36 states for non-remittance of stamp duties fund generated from the states.
According to a court document, the attorneys sued Malami because funds generated from stamp duties are not remitted into states’ coffers, even as they sought an order of the court to mandate Malami to pay N176 billion for the backlog of stamp duties received between 2015 and 2020.
The document read partly, “An order of this honourable court directing the defendant to pay over to the plaintiffs all the sum of monies amounting to one hundred and seventy-six billion, sixty-seven million, four hundred thousand naira (N176,067,400,000,00) representing ascertained and admitted collected stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions within their respective states for the period of 2015 and 2020, and thereafter till the time of the judgment of this honourable court or any other sum as the plaintiffs may be found entitled by the honourable court.”
The attorneys general also sought an order of perpetual injunction, “restraining the defendant by himself, privies, agents or any persons by whatever name or howsoever called from appointing anyone for the purpose of collecting Stamp Duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs henceforth.”
They further sought to declare that Malami had no right to withhold stamp duty transactions from individuals in their states.
In the document, they argued that Malami should not be allowed to collect, administer or collect stamp duties.
“A declaration that the defendant is not entitled to collect, administer, or keep the proceeds of any stamp duties on transactions involving individuals within the respective states of the plaintiffs or any manner interfere with the plaintiff’s right and authority in the administering the provision of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,” the document explained.
They also sought the court to declare their entitlement to receive 85 per cent of stamp duties generated from electronic money transfer levies and others.
They demanded a declaration that “the plaintiffs are entitled to 85% of all stamp duties collected on electronic money transfer levy, on electronic receipts or electronic transfer for money deposited in deposit money banks and financial institutions, on any type of account to be accounted for and expressed to be received by the person to whom the transfer or deposit is made in the plaintiffs’ respective states.”