Nigeria’s 36 state attorneys general have sued Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of the federation, for non-remittance of stamp duties fund generated from the states, Peoples Gazette reports citing a court document. According to the news site, the attorneys sued because funds generated from stamp duties are not remitted into states’ coffers. They sought an order of the court to mandate Mr Malami to pay ₦176 billion for the backlog of stamp duties received between 2015 and 2020. “An order of this honourable court directing the defendant to pay over to the plaintiffs all the sum of monies amounting to one hundred and seventy-six billion, sixty-seven million, four hundred thousand naira (₦176,067,400,000,00) representing ascertained and admitted collected stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions within their respective states for the period of 2015 and 2020,” said the document, “and thereafter till the time of the judgment of this honourable court or any other sum as the plaintiffs may be found entitled by the honourable court.” They also sought an order of perpetual injunction, “restraining the defendant by himself, privies, agents or any persons by whatever name or how so ever called from appointing anyone for the purpose of collecting Stamp Duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs henceforth.” In addition, they sought to declare that Mr Malami had no right to withhold stamp duty transactions from individuals in their states. In the document, the governors further argued that Mr Malami should not be allowed to collect, administer or collect stamp duties. “A declaration that the defendant is not entitled to collect, administer, or keep the proceeds of any stamp duties on transactions involving individuals within the respective states of the plaintiffs or any manner interfere with the plaintiff’s right and authority in the administering the provision of Section 4(2) of the Stamp Duties Act Cap. S8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,” the document explained. The governors also demanded a declaration that “the plaintiffs are entitled to 85% of all stamp duties collected on electronic money transfer levy, on electronic receipts or electronic transfer for money deposited in deposit money banks and financial institutions, on any type of account to be accounted for and expressed to be received by the person to whom the transfer or deposit is made in the plaintiffs’ respective states.”
Nigerian troops have seized 14 tonnes of fertiliser that the insurgent Islamist group Boko Haram had planned to turn into roadside bombs, the army said on Thursday. Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people in bombings during its 12-year war against the armed forces in northeast Nigeria, a conflict that has spilled over into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon and caused an estimated 350,000 deaths. The army said it had broken up a urea fertiliser syndicate that supplied the insurgents with materials to make IEDs or improvised explosive devices. Troops seized 281 bags of urea, each weighing 50kg, at two locations in northeastern Borno and Yobe states, military spokesman Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement. He said the insurgents were “desperately acquiring IED materials to make explosive devices with which to unleash terror on innocent civilians, in a bid to remain relevant and present a posture of potency”.
Africa’s largest telecom company MTN Group is reportedly in talks with potential international buyers for its wireless business in Afghanistan according to Bloomberg. The South African headquartered company is currently the market leader in Afghanistan with a 40% share and is in discussions with several parties in ongoing negotiations to sell its Afghanistan arm. A writedown of MTN’s Afghanistan business without any proceeds from disposal is estimated to cost about R700 million ($49 million) according to undisclosed sources familiar with the negotiations. This move is in line with MTN’s announcement just over a year ago to exit countries in the Middle East over the next three to five years, in order to focus on African markets. The carrier earlier this year abandoned its operation in Syria, citing regulatory demands that made operating there untenable; last month the carrier stated that it was still evaluating options in Yemen and Afghanistan. The sale of its Afghanistan unit is crucial to MTN as it plans to raise about R15 billion ($1 billion) from shareholding sales in markets outside Africa. The proceeds will be used to reduce its huge debt of nearly R50 billion ($3.5 billion) for the year to December 2020 as well as allocate more capital investments in Africa by 2025. Unlike MTN, the other telecom companies operating in Afghanistan, which also includes state-owned Afghan Wireless and Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates, have reassured customers and investors that services will keep running following the collapse of the US-backed government last month while trying to secure the safety of their employees in the country. MTN currently serves over six million customers in Afghanistan, its planned exit could serve as an opportunity for other Afghanistan telecom players to expand their market share, while MTN does the same in Africa.
Morocco’s liberal RNI party has won most seats in the country’s parliamentary elections followed by another liberal party, PAM, while co-ruling moderate PJD Islamists suffered a crushing defeat, preliminary results showed on Thursday. RNI, led by billionaire agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch, took 97 of the 395-seat parliament, followed by PAM with 82 seats and the conservative Istiqlal with 78 seats. The PJD, which had been a coalition partner in the previous two governments had only taken 12 seats after a count of 96 per cent of all parliamentary seats. The results show a massive turnaround in fortunes as the RNI had only won 37 seats at the last election in 2016, while the PJD took 125. RNI ministers controlled the key economic portfolios of agriculture, finance, trade and tourism in the outgoing government. Turnout in Wednesday’s elections improved to 50.3 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2016, as Morocco held parliamentary and local elections on the same day. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy where the king holds sweeping powers in the North African country. He picks the prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in parliament who will then form a cabinet and submits it for the King’s approval. The Palace has the last say on appointments concerning key departments including the interior, foreign affairs, and defence. New voting rules were expected to make it harder for bigger parties to win as many seats as before, which means the RNI will have to enter into coalition talks to form a government. In a statement on Wednesday, the PJD accused rivals of buying votes, without naming any or providing details. Although PJD has been the largest party since 2011, it has failed to stop laws it opposes, including one to bolster the French language in education and another to allow cannabis for medical use. The PJD will move into the opposition if it does not win elections, Lahcen Daoudi, former PJD minister told reporters.