By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed deep concern that some of the nation’s commercial banks are altering their stamp duty records and remittances to revenue authorities in a very questionable degree.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts Hon. Oluwole Oke stated this at an investigative public hearing of the House on stamp duty collection by the banks and its remittance to the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS over the years
The Committee grilled a total of four bank executives on stamp duty collected between January 2014 and November 2019 at the investigation
Hon Oke disclosed that the investigation was to ensure that every Kobo that is supposed to go into the federation account is remitted into it by the banks who are the custodians of public funds.
However, the bank CEOs represented by their Chief Operating Officers have rebuffed the allegation saying that they have all remitted all the stamp duties they collected to the FIRS within the period under review.
The Chief Operating Officer of United Bank for Africa UBA Taiwo Adeneye who represented the CEO told the lawmakers that the bank collected a total of N16,036,050,224.74 as stamp duty and remitted N16,134,277,886.27 to the FIRS.
He also told the committee that a collection fee of N22.6 million was deducted at source from the total sum before payment to the FIRS which was the difference between the sum collected and the remittance
He further hinted that prior to 2015 the bank did collect stamp duties on deposits and withdraws as it was done via postage stamp fully paid for into the coffers of Nigeria Postal Service NIPOST by bank customers
The Committee nonetheless queried the rationale behind such huge amount of deduction from the bank’s stamp duty records and demanded the bank to provide it’s ledger to provide more insight into it.
Hon Oke while calling for more documents from the bank CEOs on their collection and remittances said that the bank could collect N3 billion daily from it.
The Committee also grilled Mr Mike Ilobah General Manager of the United Bank for Africa UBA over its N3.9 million stamp duty records provided for the Committee’s scrutiny saying that it fell short of expectation considering the banks status and customer base.
Other banks chiefs that made presentation before the Committee include Mr Osama Saleh of the Jaiz Bank who told the lawmakers that the bank collected N1,141,525,258:99 as stamp duty between Jan 2015 to November 2019.