FIRS urges senate to uphold sack of former tax controller

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ABUJA – The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged the Senate to uphold the retrenchment of its former Tax Controller, Dare Adebayo, who was relieved of the job over alleged fraud.

Malam Kabiru Manchi, Chairman of the service, made the plea on Friday while defending a petition brought against the establishment before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions in Abuja.

Adebayo filed the petition to challenge the termination of his appointment which he described as unlawful.

However, Manchi said the service received a petition from Mr Joseph on March 23, 2007 alleging some fraudulent activities at the FESTAC-Lagos integrated tax office by some staff of the service.

He said that the petition had mentioned the Tax Controller who was later identified as Adebayo, Ikata John as the staff member concerned.

The chairman said the suspected worker was specially alleged to have conducted various forms of tax audit on Company Income Tax (CIT), Withholding Tax (WHT) and Value Added Tax (VAT).

According to him, Adebayo and John allegedly used the exercise to collect various sums of money from taxpayers.

Manchi listed Tantalizers Ltd, Grey De Koroun, Fleetwood Garages, Societe De Compoludage, First Bite Nigeria Ltd and Orunis Nigeria Ltd. as some of the companies whose false audit were conducted.

According to him, the rest are Stabilini Visiononi Nigeria Ltd., Sara Foam Nig Ltd. and Denca Nigeria Ltd.

Manchi said “pursuant to the referred petition, there was an internal investigation by the FIRS Anti-Corruption Transparency Unit (ACTU).

He also said an external investigation by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was conducted.

“The internal investigation by ACTU found the affected staff culpable in respect of the allegations,’’ he said.

Manchi alleged that the petitioner had made arbitrary assessments for the companies to compel FIRS to settle for reconciliation meeting, to create an atmosphere for gratification to take place.

He said Adebayo was queried on June 5, 2007 on the alleged shoddy deals based on the outcome of a preliminary investigation on allegations of outrageous issuance of tax clearance certificates to companies.

Manchi said Adebayo replied the query through a letter dated June 21, 2007 without addressing the issues raised in the query.

“The brief of the disciplinary issues was then forwarded to the Management Committee of the service for appropriate action.

“The Board, at its sitting on March 26, 2010, considered, among others, the disciplinary case against Mr Dare Joshua Adebayo and decided his employment be terminated.

“The decision of the board was conveyed to Adebayo via a letter terminating his appointment for service no longer required, dated April 8, 2010,’’ Manch said.

“It is noteworthy that the board, in taking the decision to terminate Adeboya’s appointment, considered sections 7(1)(d) and 14(1)(a) of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007.

“The board did so after consideration of the right of the staff and in compliance with the relevant disciplinary procedure of the service,’’ he said.

NAN reports that Adebayo (the petitioner) was, however, absent at the proceeding, thereby, stalling his cross examination.

Adebayo had, in his petition, alleged his victimisation and violation of his right, as according to him, due process was not followed before his appointment was abruptly terminated.

He, however, said all the assessments made while serving at the Festac office of the establishment were done for the good of the system.

Adebayo said that his former employer failed to exhaust investigations on the issues raised in the petition brought against him before terminating his appointment.

He, therefore , urged the committee to recommend his reinstatement without further delay.

Sen. Akin Akinyelure, Chairman of the committee who presided, however, adjourned the matter indefinitely as the petitioner was not around to be subjected to cross examination. (NAN)

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