CHAIRMAN of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr Tunde Fowler, yesterday, dismissed reports suggesting that money paid as taxes is missing from the agency’s coffers.
Fowler made the clarification in an interview in his office in Abuja.
The clarification came in the wake of media reports alleging that taxpayers’ money in the custody of the agency is missing.
The FIRS boss explained that taxes collected by the FIRS are not paid into the coffers of the Service, but directly into the Federation Account, electronically, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Fowler said: “On the DTA (Duty Tour Allowance), 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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, 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.”
Fowler said the agency has a relationship with the EFCC through which it combats tax evasion.
“We have a relationship with the 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,” he said.
Fowler added that FIRS acknowledges the statutory rights and responsibilities of anti-corruption agencies and other government agencies such as the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Department of State Service, DSS, to inquire into the operations of the Service.
He promised that the FIRS will continue to give access to agencies with statutory rights and all those who seek information on its operations.