Anambra State sues AGF, Minister, FIRS over Finance Bill 2021

Anambra State Internal Revenue Board sued Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami; Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed and Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mohammed Name on the provision of Section 27 of the 2021 Finance Act.

The Act amended Section 89A of the Stamp Duty Act and granted the Minister of Finance expanded powers to regulate, subject to the approval of the National Assembly, the taxation, administration, l auditing, accounting, collection and remittance of stamp duty on electronic receipts. with respect to instruments initiated and executed or transactions initiated and completed between persons or individuals, “which by law are attributable to the several States of the Federation, pursuant to Article 4(2) of the Stamp Duty Act 2004, as amended.”

The suit is before a Federal High Court in Awka, the capital of Anambra State,

The plaintiff’s attorney, David C. Onyilofor, filed the claim in a writ of summons in the case which was assigned to Judge HA Nganjiwa.

A copy of the complaint with reference number FHC/AWK/CS/03/2022, supported by an affidavit from the complainant’s consultant, Francis Uzoma Ubani, was made available to journalists last Thursday.

The claimant has asked the court to determine whether the above provision conflicts with the provisions of sections 3(3), 111, 115 and 116(2) of the Stamp Duty Act 2004, as as amended; and if not inconsistent with the provisions of Section 163 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, and is therefore null, void and of no effect, to the extent of the inconsistency .

Among other remedies, he asked the court for an order directing the defendants to immediately order all depository banks (DMBs) and financial institutions to henceforth begin remitting to the plaintiff all stamp duty and transfer levies electronic funds transfer (EMTL) to be collected in respect of instruments initiated and executed or transactions initiated and completed between persons or individuals (whether electronically or otherwise) within the territory of Anambra State , pursuant to section 4(2) of the Stamp Duty Act 2004, as amended.

He also sought the court order directing the defendants, that all arrears of stamp duty and electronic funds transfer levy (EMTL) already remitted to them by depository banks and financial institutions be apportioned. between the different States of the Federation on the basis of derivation, in accordance with Article 163 (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.

He also asked the court to declare that the purported directive of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), in its press release on the clarification of the administration of stamp duty in Nigeria with respect to the administration, collection and / or remission of stamp duty in Nigeria, to License Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and other Financial Institutions in Nigeria, is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.

According to him, it is because he seeks to interfere, has interfered and would continue to interfere with the powers and authority of the applicant as enshrined in section 4(2) of the Human Rights Act of Stamp, CAP S8, Federal Laws Republic of Nigeria, 2004, as amended.

The claimant also requested the court to order all depository banks and financial institutions, pursuant to sections 24 and 25 of the Stamp Duty Act 2004, as amended, to immediately submit to it the records/evidence of all of their payments of the Qualified Duty and Electronic Funds Transfer Tax collected to date, to Defendants in respect of Instruments initiated and executed or Transactions initiated and completed between persons or individuals in the territory of the Anambra State under Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duty Act, 2004, as amended.

He also begged the court to obtain an order or a perpetual injunction enjoining the defendants, their agents, servants, workers and whoever they may be called, from interfering or continuing to interfere with the plaintiff’s right to collect revenue from stamp duty and wire transfer tax in respect of instruments or transactions initiated and executed or effected between persons or individuals within the territory of Anambra State pursuant to section 4 (2 ) of the Stamp Duty Act 2004, as amended in any form or guise.

The plaintiff also urged the court to determine whether under the clear provisions of Section 163 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, stamp duty is deemed to be paid, when it arises apply to the state in which they originate and NOT for the benefit of, among others, the federal and state governments and councils of local government in each state, on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly pursuant to the Article 162 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended?

He also asked the court to determine whether the stamp duties collected by the federal government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) under section 4(1) of the stamp, as amended, may be paid into the account of the Federation as directed by the FIRS, depository banks (MDBs) and financial institutions in paragraph 7 of the press release dated 20/7/2020?

He also asked the court to determine whether, as presently constituted and administered, said Constitution and said Stamp Duty Act, permitted infringement by the Federal Government through the FIRS, in the matter which, under the precise and well-stated separation of powers enshrined in Sections 4(1) and 4(2) of the Stamp Duty Act 2004, as amended, fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the various States of the Federation ?

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