The Stamp Duty controversy is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-era scandal that the Buhari administration has been working on clearing.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), this is contrary to the disinformation that a spokesman for the PDP Presidential campaign is keen on spreading.
The group said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that one of the leaders of the former ruling party, the late Buruji Kashamu was the arrow-head of the scam and was under investigation until he died.
“We know we are in the middle of a campaign season, so it is not a surprise that PDP campaign spokesmen are working hard to outdo one another with all sorts of spurious tales like that of Daniel Bwala who described it as a big scandal that could bring down the Buhari government.
“What is immediately clear to us is that Bwala is either not aware of the quantum of mess left behind by his new party, or he just wants to be relevant by dabbling into an issue that the Presidency, through Presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu, has since put in proper perspective.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this is an issue that first cropped up in 2012 when one School of Banking Honours(SBH) claimed to have been contracted by the then government to collect Stamp Duty charges on behalf of NIPOST, and was already engaging banks until few months later when the late Senator Kashamu, through one of his companies, began to lay claims to that responsibility based on some curious arrangement said to have been approved by the same government.
“It is on record that the then PDP leader in the South West secured a court order mandating all commercial banks to remit stamp duties collected on all electronic transfers of N1000 and above to NIPOST through his company.
“It is also a matter of public records that the appeal court overturned that ruling and until his death, the late Kashamu and his company were being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alongside some former NIPOST Postmaster-Generals.
“We have it on good authority that the investigation is still ongoing and that full revelations will be made of the characters involved, but it is obvious that under the new law, NIPOST is now completely removed from collecting Stamp Duty charges.
“So we wonder what Bwala was talking about when he claimed that the controversy surrounding Stamp Duty is big enough to bring down the Buhari administration”, the statement added.
BMO noted that the scandal over Stamp Duty collection is not different from several other PDP-era fraudulent arrangements that Nigeria was railroaded into by unscrupulous government officials.
“Aside from picking holes in claims of an N89trn sitting in some accounts as Stamp Duty accruals, the Presidency also hinted on the issue of a 7.5% commission which was to go to consultants from the recoveries.
“This brings to mind some other agreements that government officials in the PDP years got Nigeria into and which are bound to cost the country millions of naira in compensation at arbitration.
“Those that readily come to mind are the Mambila power project, Ajaokuta steel and the P&ID scandals which the Buhari administration is battling to resolve.
“This is the legacy of the party that was in power for 16 years and was roundly rejected by Nigerians for plunging the country into a big mess, but is today claiming to be on a rescue mission”.
The group maintained that President Buhari would leave the country better than he met it in 2015.