N90BILLION: Osinbajo did not collect money for election from us ~FIRS

The attention of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has been
drawn to publication in some online and daily newspapers by a certain
Comrade Timi Frank, the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of
the All Progressives Congress (APC), who claimed that the FIRS
supported the`APC, through the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with a
phantom N90 billion.

The FIRS wishes to state as follows:

1. That the entire allegation being spread by one Frank Timi that
the Federal
Inland Revenue Service spent N90billion to fund the last election is
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 villifying 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.

2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. We ask members of 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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
expenditure.

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