By Anthony Okafor
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has called on the Federal Government to ask the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, to respect valid judgment of the Court and stop the systematic defrauding of millions of Nigerians who are bank customers in the name of deduction of stamp duties from their accounts.
Speaking in Lagos, the Director-General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale lamented that the “issue of imposing N50 stamp duty commenced when the CBN directed that banks must deduct N50 stamp duty on all transactions made, with a value of N1,000 and above. This was said to be in compliance with the Stamp Duties Act. The issue of stamp duty was tested in courts and a ruling was obtained in an appeal against the lower court judgment in the case of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd vs. Kasmal International Services Ltd & 22 Ors in CA/L/437A/2014, when Hon. Justice Ibrahim Saulawa and four other Justices of the Court of Appeal held that the Stamp Duties Act did not impose a duty on Money Deposit Banks to deduct N50 on bank deposits. Thus, according to the Appeal Court, “electronic transactions” were not covered by the Stamp Duties Act. He added: “to the best of our knowledge, there was no challenge of this ruling by any party at the Supreme Court.”
“The refusal by CBN and NIPOST to respect a valid judgment of a competent Court of the Land is worrisome. It amounts to contempt of court and sustained daylight robbery of millions of bank customers’ deposits. It is a mark of disrespect to the Constitution of Nigeria, disrespect to the Court, disrespect to due process and disrespect to Nigerians.
“In fact, NECA had written letters in 2015 and 2017 to the CBN Governor, calling his attention to the anomaly and judgment of the Court which he neither responded to nor did the needful by halting the fraud and rip off. NIPOST should stick to its roles and responsibilities of producing and selling postage stamps in the Country.
“The CBN should respect the Law and judgment of the Court of Appeal and instruct the Banks, through a circular, to stop the deduction of N50 stamp duty on customers’ accounts and return several billions of Naira illegally deducted from Bank Customers to them up to date.”