No taxpayers ’money is missing in the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the agency announced Wednesfay.
The clarification came in the wake of media reports in the last few weeks, which alleged that taxpayers’ money in the custody of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is missing.
The stories claim that some officers explored irregularities in the Service accounting system on Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) to collect claims that they are not due for.
However, in an interview in his office, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler affirmed that no taxpayers’ money is missing in FIRS. Said Mr. Fowler: “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. 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 Chairman also explained that taxes collected by the FIRS are not paid to the coffers of the Service. Rather, all taxes, are paid directly into the Federation Account, electronically, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The issue at stake in this inquiry are operational/travel funds within our expenditure budget, he said.
The FIRS does not have access to taxpayers money. Its operations are funded by appropriation of the National Assembly, through monthly remittances by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC.
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), State Security Services, SSS to inquire into the operations of the Service.
The FIRS Chairman promised that FIRS would continue to give access to agencies with statutory rights and all those who seek information on the operations of the Service. 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 noted that the FIRS is a PUBLIC TRUST, which we operate on behalf of Nigerians. He also affirmed that no officer of the FIRS is at large.
Fowler thanked all stakeholders including the media, for their interest in the operations of the Service. However, we enjoin the media to always go the extra mile to ascertain the truth, particularly on sensitive financial issues where taxpayers and public trust are at stake.
He re-assured the general public of our unalloyed commitment to public accountability and transparency in the sacred mandate of tax collection.