Reps sanction 15 banks over non-remittance of N1.6bn stamp duties levy

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution for sanctioning of 15 financial institutions operating in the country over allegation bothering on non-remittance of N1.587 billion accrued from the collection of stamp duties.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of all the recommendations as contained in the report of the Ad-hoc Committee which investigated the non-remittance of trillions of naira of stamp duties into the federation account, chaired by Rep. Abubakar Ahmad, at the Committee of the Whole.

The 15 defaulting banks recommended for sanction and amount withheld include GTB – N198.326 million; Zenith Bank – N265.636 million; Stanbic IBTC – N231.095 million; Diamond Bank – N545.874 million; Access Bank – N66.092 million; UBA – N81.087 million; Ecobank – N78.527 million and Unity Bank – N40.099 million.

Others include Fidelity bank – N32.888 million; Keystone Bank – N24.471 million; Standard Chartered Bank – N3.658 million; Polaris bank – N2.908 million while Jaiz bank withheld N2.436 million.

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According to the adopted report at the Committee of the Whole, the House resolved that machinery be put in place for the recovery of under remittances after further reconciliation is carried out with the banks concerned.

All the banks indicted over the delayed remittances should be penalised while Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should strengthen its supervisory activity on the financial institutions in the bid to ensure transparency and ensure accurate and prompt remittance of all government revenues.

In the same vein, the House which observed that all the Banks were found not to have made full disclosure of stamp duties revenues collected and remittances, called for further investigation into the scandal.

The Green Chamber also recommended that financial institutions especially Debt Management Bureau (DMB) should remit all collections with respect to government revenue promptly and correctly and where remittances are not promptly done, the DMB should be sanctioned.

The House also resolved that four banks namely: First Bank of Nigeria, First City Monumental Bank, Wema Bank, and Sun Trust Bank should be investigated for failing to appear before the Ad-hoc Committee despite repeated summons.

Similarly, the House urged relevant agencies to give maximum cooperation to the SBH to realize the goal of the assignment given to them, which is in the overall interest of the country, adding that SBH should intensify efforts to give accurate and timely information to the Federal Government in line with the terms of its appointment.

While noting that emphasis has been on Stamp Duties, the lawmakers advised that other forms of Stamp Duty should be explored to increase the revenue base of various tiers of government in accordance with the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act, 2004, in pursuant of the CBN circular of January 2016.

The clean copy of the report alongside the Votes and Proceedings containing the recommendations are to be transmitted to the Presidency for further consideration and implementation.

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