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States drag FG before Supreme Court over stamp duty revenue allocation

By News Desk

Amid the ongoing Value Added Tax (VAT) face-off between the Federal and Rivers as well as Lagos state Governments, the Attorneys-Generals of the 36 states have dragged the apex government before Supreme Court over the alleged failure to remit funds generated through stamp duties into state accounts.

In the suit filed jointly by the state, they argued that states remain sole authority to collect stamp duties and not the federal government as presently been carried out across the country.

The states, in the suit filed before the supreme court last month and marked SC/CV/690/2021, argued that the highest court in the country should examine and determine who truly should collect stamp duty.

Among other reliefs sought by the states from the court was that they should be made sole authorities entitled to administer and collect stamp duties on all transactions involving individuals within their respective states.

They further appealed that the court directs the Federal Government through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to account for and pay back all stamp duties collected on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the Plaintiffs from the period 2015-2020 and thereafter till the time of the judgment.

They argued that their concern was that the mandatory provisions of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) the plaintiffs (all the state attorneys) are not the sole authority to administer and collect stamp duties on all transactions involving individuals/persons within their respective states?”

The 36 states also asked the court to determine “whether having regard to the provisions of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria read in conjunction with the provisions of Section 163, items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule part I and items 7 (a) and (b) of the second Schedule part II and other provisions of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the defendant (Malami) could claim, retain, distribute or in any other manner deal with the monies or sums collected as stamp duties on individual person transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs without reference to, the concurrence of, input or agreement of the plaintiffs?”

The plaintiffs were also asking the court to ascertain whether or not they 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”.

“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,” they prayed.

“A declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to all the sums of money collected by the defendant as stamp duties through whatever source or means in their respective states from 2015-2020 and thereafter till the time of the judgment of this honourable court with respect to individual persons’ transactions.

“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.”

“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 (N 176,067,400,000,00) representing ascertained and admitted collected stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions within their respective states for the period of 2015- 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.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by himself, privies, agents or any persons by whatever name or how so ever called from appointing anyone for the purpose of collecting Stamp Duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs henceforth.”

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