By Emmanuel Ujah
The Federal Government has begun investigation into over 200 whistleblowing tips on tax officials and taxpayers involved in under declaration of taxes as well as demand by taxpayers and receipt of gratifications by tax officials.
Federal Ministry of Finance has also commenced the process of sanitising the tax administration and revenue collection system of dishonest operatives.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed these, yesterday, in Abuja while presiding over the meeting of Whistleblower Unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, PICA.
Adeosun said the sanitisation of the tax administration and revenue collection system was part of the government’s efforts at enhancing the willingness of citizens to pay their taxes.
She confirmed that the Ministry of Finance had requested and secured the suspension of two senior tax officials in Delta and Benue states based on verified tips from whistle-blowers.
The minister said: “The ministry is currently analysing over 200 additional whistleblowing tips, including recordings between tax officials and potential taxpayers in which various practices, designed to reduce tax payable, were detailed.
“These practices include demands for personal gratification by tax officers, promises to procure backdated tax clearance certificates, and offers to conspire to reduce taxes payable.”
To deal with the influx of the whistleblowing tips, the minister directed the reorganisation of the Whistleblower Unit to fast track reports relating to those in the revenue generating agencies.
She said: “Encouraging our citizens to pay taxes is a matter of law but it is also a matter of trust. Those who work in our tax offices must, therefore, demonstrate the highest level of integrity.”