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Fowler, FIRS chairman, debunks report of missing funds

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[File] Mr Babatunde Fowler, FTAX Chairman. PHOTO/TWITTER/FIRS

Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, has dismissed reports that money paid as taxes disappeared from the agency’s coffers.

According to him, taxes are not paid into FIRS coffers, but directly into the Federation Account, electronically, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Fowler made the clarification in Abuja yesterday in the wake of media reports that taxpayers’ money in the custody of the agency was missing.

The agency, he explained, does not have access to taxpayers’ money, as its operations are funded by appropriation of the National Assembly through monthly remittances by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

Over the last few weeks, there had been media reports on alleged exploitation of FIRS accounting system on Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) by some staff to collect undue claims.

This alleged infraction is reportedly under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), with some media outlets suggesting that the probe was into missing taxpayers’ money.

Fowler said the issue at stake was related to operational/travel funds within the FIRS expenditure budget.

“On the DTA, it is claimed that some staff applied for and were granted allowances to travel on 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. 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,” said the FIRS boss.

He also stated: “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.”


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