Amid growing allegations of graft against Mr. Babatunde Fowler, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and some top directors of the agency, he, on Wednesday said that the alleged missing funds amounting to N5billion did not come from tax payers’ money.
The ‘missing’ funds is being investigated by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and is said to have been stolen from the operational/travel funds of the agency’s expenditure budget.
“No taxpayers’ money is missing in the Federal Inland Revenue Service”, the agency quoted its Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler in a press statement on Wednesday.
Not less than nine top directors of the agency are said to have been under EFCC investigation in the past few months for allegedly receiving at least N5 billion as travel allowance without embarking on any trip.
Head of the Coordinator Support Services Group, Mr Peter Hena who was said to have authorised the payment has allegedly left the country for ‘health reasons.’
EFCC sources claimed that during interrogation, some of the staff confessed that although they did not travel, they just found huge amounts of money in their accounts but were asked to remit the money to a particular account and keep a percentage.
In a statement in Abuja, however, Fowler said the agency has good relationship with the EFCC.
“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. 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.”