Missing N5bn not stolen from taxpayers’ money - FIRS clarifies

Missing N5bn not stolen from taxpayers’ money - FIRS clarifies

- The EFCC is investigating N5 billion fraud in the Federal Inland Revenue Service

- According to the FIRS, the N5 billion under investigation is not taxpayers' money

- Some staff of the service have reportedly confessed to the fraud

- EFCC sources disclosed that the staff were used to clear the fund from the agency and a percentage of the money given them as payment

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in Abuja on Wednesday, May 8, said that the N5 billion fraud being investigated by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was stolen from the operational/travel funds of its expenditure budget and not from taxpayers’ money.

Babatunde Fowler, the FIRS chairman, in a press release said “no taxpayers’ money is missing in the Federal Inland Revenue Service”, Nigerian Tribune reports.

It should be noted that at least nine top officials of the agency have been under the EFCC investigation in the past few months for allegedly receiving at least N5 billion as travel allowance for a bogus trip.

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Peter Hena, the head of the Coordinator Support Services Group, who authorised the payment, left the country for health reasons.

Sources in the anti-graft agency claimed some staff of FIRS already confessed that though they did not travel, they just found huge amounts of money in their account, and were asked to remit the money to a particular account and keep a percentage.

A part of the press release read: “We have a relationship with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. We have a partnership; through which we combat evasion of taxes. People don’t want to get into trouble with EFCC. So, they pay on time.

“On the DTA (Duty Tour Allowance), it claimed that some staff applied for and were granted, allowances to travel for official trips.

“Some are alleged not to have travelled for the number of days, for which they were slated. The EFCC is looking into that.

“Sometimes, it is good to have a third party investigate matters like this instead of having a staff investigate another staff. An investigation by a third party is more objective. FIRS has since taken steps to remediate this.

“The EFCC will soon complete its investigation. Anybody found guilty will be dealt with through our administrative process.”

The FIRS boss said that the agency would continue to give access to agencies with statutory rights and all those who seek information on the operations of the Service.

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Invitations of officials of the Service by EFCC, the Police, SSS and ICPC to shed light financial transactions and operations of the Service, in the past, are not uncommon and are continuous,” he said.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Fowler said that Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax designed to support the poor and not to create hardship for them.

FIRS spokesman, Wahab Gbadamosi, said on Tuesday, March 26, in a statement that Fowler made the clarification in Lagos at the maiden Nigeria Tax Outlook (NTO) Stakeholders Roundtable Series organised by Nigeria Taxpayer Hub.

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Source: Legit

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