Businessman petitions EFCC, presidency over unpaid $50 million contract sum
•FIRS keeps mum
Lagos-Based businessman, Taiwo Samuel Akinwande, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Presidency over alleged non payment of contract fees he executed for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2010 by the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Mamman Nami and chairman, Due Process Contract, Debt Payments of the office of the presidency, Dr. James Okon.
Speaking through his counsel, Ayodeji Bobaderin, Akinwande said both parties have been withholding the sum of $50 million owed to him and have asked him to make several payments as tax and Value Added tax (VAT) severally.
According to a copy of the petition made available to The Guardian, Akinwale had executed a contract awarded to him by the NNPC worth $50 million.
He said that the office of the Presidency NNPC/DUE process gave the certificate and approval of payment of the said amount to him on July 8, 2010.
The businessman said he received a letter of irrevocable guarantee from the Presidency through the former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, on September 9, 2013, stating that the money will be paid to his account in Germany upon the payment of Є3,700.
He claimed that he got a letter of irrevocable guarantee from the head of Due Process, where it was stated that once he provides a valid current tax clearance certificate, there will be no further request or requirement for the payment.
Akinwande said he subsequently paid ЄЄ3,700 and $2,500 as taxes and a tax clearance certificated dated October 23, 2015 was issued to him by FIRS.
After making the payment, he claimed that he also paid the Procurement Director, a sum of Є50,000 to obtain a certificate of legality from the Federal High Court, approving the payment of his money on September 18, 2017.
According to the petitioner, on September 19, 2017, Zenith Bank transferred $50 million to IB International in Amsterdam, Netherland instead of ING Bank Brussels, contrary to the information on their slips and instructions.
On September 20, 2017, a letter of immediate stop order of the transfer of the money to Akinwande was served to Zenith Bank PLC after the money had already been transferred to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s corresponding bank – IB Inter Bank in Amsterdam and not his bank in Belgium based on his instruction.
Subsequently on November 23, 2017, he received a letter of Credit Advance in his favour amounting to $50 million from IB Inter Bank, Amsterdam and his fund was transferred to his account within 24 hours, but till today he is yet to access the money.
The petitioner alleged that he got a letter from IB Inter Bank, placing on hold the payment of the money to him pending the presentation of a Tax Clearance Certificate for the year 2020, even when the said sum of $50 million is already in his personal offshore account, lamenting that the bank refused to allow him till date to control and manage the funds.
“That emboldened by his desires to have his money after having being extorted financially he paid a further ЄЄ10,500 to FIRS but the agency refused to issue him a clearance certificate to enable him access his fund.
“Contrary to the promise that he will not have to pay further on tax charges, he received another letter from FIRS on July 6, 2020 that the chairman of due process demanded he pays another ЄЄ20,500 for tax and VAT for the year 2020,” his lawyer stated.
The lawyer claimed that his client did not fall within the categories of workers, who are entitled to pay yearly tax, but he was taxed severally and he paid each time just to get his money.
“In 2010 Mr. Akinwande had paid $2,500, which is the legal liabilities imposed on him by law. It is illegal for Nami and Okon to write a letter to the IB Interbank officially to stop the payment,” he said, calling on the EFCC to investigate the claims.
Meanwhile, efforts to get FIRS respond to the allegations proved abortive as the agency kept mum for over two weeks of contacting them for a reaction.
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