The Presidency had on Saturday debunked the claim by the controversial committee that N89 trillion was mismanaged.
The Secretary of the dissolved Presidential Committee on Reconciliation and Recovery of Stamp Duties Revenue, Kazaure Gudaji, has said President Muhammadu Buhari secretly set up the committee and that only he (the president) could dissolve it.
Mr Gudaji, who is also a member of the House of Representatives from Jigawa State, said this in a statement on Sunday.
He said the president gave the committee sweeping powers to detain anyone indicted in the stamp duties affairs.
He reiterated that N89 trillion from stamp duties has been misappropriated and that his committee must be allowed to present its report to Mr Buhari.
Mr Gudaji gave the explanation in response to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Mr Gujaji had during a press briefing on Friday said his committee was secretly constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari, with Adetola Adekoya and him as the chairman and secretary, respectively.
He explained that he, in a letter dated 8 August , sought the approval of Mr Buhari to set up the committee that included the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the Director General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, Mohammed Wakili, a retired commissioner of police and one Mr Okafor, a retired staffer of the National Intelligence Agency.
He said one of the powers given to the committee includes that “of detention on any person, or group of persons, that violates the Presidential Directives on this assignment.”
He further stated that Mr Buhari gave his approval on 1 September. The approval in essence gave the committee the power to detain people.
However, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, acting under the directive of Mr Buhari, in another letter on 20 September, dissolved the committee before it was even inaugurated.
“l am directed to convey Mr President’s directive on the above subject as follows:
“Setting aside His earlier approval for the constitution of a Presidential Committee to Reconcile and Recover all Stamp Duties Revenue from Banks and other Financial Institutions into a Single Stamp *Duties Central Account” (2013 to date) for Mr President’s Monitoring and Control (under Copyright Act), granted on 1st September 2022, and directing the suspension of the said Committee’s activities,” the letter reads.
Despite the directive, according to Mr Gudaji, the committee was inaugurated on the premises of the DSS in Abuja on 21 September, a day after the directive by the president.
In the document Mr Gudaji provided, the committee continued to write letters of invitation to the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammed Nami, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele and others,
Both Messrs Emefiele and Nami declined the invitation, citing the SGF’s letter that dissolved the committee.
During the press briefing, Mr Gudaje insisted that the SGF does not have the power to dissolve its committee because it was directly approved by Mr Buhari.
He claimed that the SGF and other officials are trying to shut down its committee because of its findings.
“This is our 30 days report to the president, which I was blocked from briefing the president. This is the first step. In the next one week, we will gather the report showing what the CBN brought.
“I will start a second step; I will mention the names of the people behind the sabotage of the economy of this country. I will mention the people that blocked me. I am calling directly to the president to immediately tell his people to call me to submit my report to him so that we will save his integrity. We will save Nigeria.
“When I informed him (Mr Buhari) of this money, he was disappointed in the CBN Governor, that is why he created this committee. He gave me power to remove the CBN governor—to remove him, detain him and investigate him. He gave me that power that is why I am assured that the president is not aware. He gave me power, gave the committee power to remove the CBN Governor, investigate and detain him. Mr President is not aware. He re-appointed him based on paper,” Mr Gudaji said.
He further claimed that the committee subsequently compelled Mr Emefiele to honour the invitation through a letter written by the DSS. Narrating the event, he said the CBN Governor was detained for four hours until he was released on administrative bail.
The lawmaker specifically said the committee has been unable to present its interim report to Mr Buhari because the Chief Protocol Officer, Lawal Kazaure, has prevented him from seeing the president.
In the interim report Mr Gudaji shared with journalists, the committee recommended the suspension of the CBN Governor.
a.The lawmaker said the committee has flagged the Funds in CBN Private Investors Account, US $171.0 Billion
b.Funds “recycled” as loans to some banks: N13 trillion
c.Funds “recycled” as FMDQ Debt to FGN: N23.3 Trillion.
To allow full investigation, the committee recommended the following actions:
a. The CBN Governor proceeded on leave immediately, while DSS leads a full investigation into the 3 CBN Accounts (above).
b. EFCC Chairman to submit its report on 3 CBN Accounts (above) as reported by FGN Agent, to DSS immediately.
c. Finance Minister to open the Stamp Duties Central Account that you approved for all recovery balances in many accounts.
d. SGF to submit the 2018 FGN Agent’s report on Stamp Duties, and his 2020 inter-ministerial report to DSS immediately.
Mr Shehu, in the statement released on Saturday, debunked the allegation by the lawmaker that N89 trillion was mismanaged.
“It suffices to say that the entire net worth of the nation’s financial sector, the assets of the banking sector put together, is not worth N50 trillion, not to talk of the kind of money he is talking about,” the statement said.
He also questioned how a parliamentarian would be appointed to an executive committee.
“Anyone familiar with our constitution will find it curious that a member of the Parliament is the secretary of an Executive Committee,” he said.
However, the letter from the SGF office shows that Mr Gudaji was indeed appointed by the president and even gave his committee the power to arbitrarily detain people on mere suspicion.
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