The Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) has vehemently debunked an allegation that it supported the APC re-election campaign with a war chest of N90billion passed through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. It demanded a public apology from the conveyor and threatened legal action
The allegation was made today by Timi Frank, an APC renegade now working with Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.
FIRS in its reaction Monday night described the allegation as ” mendacious, wicked, malicious and a calculated attempt to smear the image of the Service and that of his Excellency, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
“This campaign of calumny and vilifying false claims are entirely, libellous, unfounded in fact, irresponsible and a brazen assault on the integrity of the Service as a responsible and accountable organisation and demonstrates an abysmal ignorance of the budgetary and expenditure process of the FIRS.
The revenue collection agency said that in the last four years since Mr. Tunde Fowler has supervised
operations at the FIRS, the agency had not received up to N100 billion per annum, as Cost of Collection from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC.
“FAAC is a public institution, whose records are open to the public”, it said.
“That it is from the remittances from FAAC—which had never grossed up to N100 billion, PER ANNUM, that FIRS pays the salary and emoluments and trains it’s over 8000 staff, runs over 150 offices and provides for other needs of the Service.
“That given the above, IT IS NOT PLAUSIBLE nor DOES IT MAKE ANY SENSE that FIRS will commit its resources to a phantom campaign of N90 billion as suggested by Mr. Timi Frank and FIRS does not fund political associations.
“That FIRS is a creation of statute and its activities are governed by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and financials regulations and thus, IT IS NOT PLAUSIBLE, that its funds could be expended in such a cavalier manner as suggested by Mr. Timi Frank.
“That FIRS Budget and expenditure approval processes pass through the Budget Office and the Ministry of Finance, before such are presented to the National Assembly for Appropriation into Law. The National Assembly committees, consisting of all parties and inclinations exercise oversight function on all agencies of the Federal Government to ensure agencies keep to the letters of the Appropriation Act. Thus FIRS’ operations are subjected to
Scrutiny and close monitoring by the National Assembly, the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee and the Ministry of Finance.
“It is therefore unthinkable, malicious and irresponsible for the said Frank to insinuate or infer that N90 billion or any part thereof could be spent illegally and without budgetary approval.
“It is equally alarming to note that this injurious falsehood and blackmail could find space in our mass media without proper scrutiny particularly with the availability of the Freedom of Information Act, which broadly allows Nigerians access to information on expenditure of public funds by government agencies. This all goes to show an
orchestrated and invidious decision by paid agents to discredit the Service in order to achieve their diabolical ends, which is at variance from the interest of Nigerians.
FIRS asked the public to ignore the claims of Mr. Timi Frank, with the ignominy it deserves as the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC is seeking for cheap popularity and relevance.
“It is in the light of the foregoing observations, the FIRS demands an unequivocal apology from the said Mr. Timi Frank and a well publicised public apology in three major and leading newspapers within the next 24 hours. The FIRS shall pursue claims for aggravated damages in libel and injurious falsehood against the said Mr. Frank if
he fails to meet these conditions in the next 24 hours.
“This invidious publication is targeted as derailing the revenue generation efforts for the three tiers of government in the nation. This is calculated economic sabotage and hereby referred to the Office
of the Attorney General of the Federation officially.
“We finally wish to assure all Nigerians that the FIRS did not spend and could not have spent taxpayers money for political ends.
“For the avoidance of doubt, every kobo paid by taxpayers goes straight to the Federation Account domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria and that the FIRS does not possess the constitutional right to touch the said
account or appropriate any kobo there from to itself.
“The FIRS wishes to reassure members of the public that the FIRS is a PUBLIC TRUST, which the agency operates on behalf of Nigerians. Taxpayers money-including the operational funds of the Service- are sacred. FIRS remains committed to public accountability and transparency in the sacred mandate of tax collection and public
In his claim, Timi Frank linked “the ongoing travails” of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to corruption
He claimed that he has reliably information from his sources in the presidency to the effect that Osinbajo’s travail has nothing to do with 2023 but alleged mismanagement of about N90 billion Naira released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to prosecute the last general elections in favour of the APC.
Frank said: “The presidency discovered how Osinbajo allegedly mismanaged N90billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
“When confronted by the presidency, he confirmed to General Buhari that he indeed allegedly took N90billion from FIRS but it was used for the 2019 presidential election campaign in strategic states of the South-west.
“Gen Buhari asked for a breakdown of how the money was spent and he said he gave N11 billion to Lagos state APC leader but when the said national leader and one former APC chairman were invited for an explanation, it was confirmed that Osinbajo gave only N5billion and not N11billion to Lagos state.
“The cabal is asking to know how come they beat PDP in the South-west with less than 60,000 votes if the money was actually spent in the strategic states of the South-west as allegedly claimed.”
The activist insisted that if the information is true, Osinbajo must resign his position as Vice President, adding that such is akin to the characteristics of ‘yahoo boys.’”