Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Ex-Chairman Of Nigerian Revenue Agency, FIRS, Nami Allegedly Approved Backdated Suspicious N11billion Payments After His Exit

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Muhammad Nami, former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has allegedly approved N6 billion as payments to several contractors and consultants, after his sudden exit from the agency.

President Bola Tinubu had sacked the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami.

The President had also approved the appointment of his Special Adviser on Revenue, Zacchaeus Adedeji as the new Acting Executive Chairman of the FIRS.

According to the statement, President Tinubu directed the erstwhile FIRS Chairman, Mr. Nami, to proceed on a three-month pre-retirement leave, as provisioned by Public Service Rule (PSR) 120243, with immediate effect, leading to his eventual retirement from service on December 8, 2023.

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According to the source, the sum of N6 billion was, however, said to have been approved backdated and signed as payments to several contractors and consultants, after he exited from the agency.

Nami, who was succeeded by Zacchaeus Adedeji, approved the payments two days after he was sacked on September 14, according to documents seen by newsmen.

Officials privy to the development but not authorised to speak on the matter said the former FIRS boss directed staff of the finance, audit, and internal affairs departments to work on Saturday and Sunday to perfect some financial transactions while files were allegedly moved from the agency’s headquarters to his house, where they were said to have been “backdated and signed”.

Sources familiar with the matter said Nami also moved about N5 billion to the account of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) from the FIRS account, adding that the FIRS director, finance & accounts, was compelled to approve the payments despite allegedly warning Nami about the potential ripple effects.

Nami was said to have assured the FIRS director that there was no cause for alarm, reportedly saying the incoming chairman of the agency would not find out about the approvals.

According to the report, an insider said Jibrin Jibrin, Nami’s cousin who is an assistant manager at the FIRS, assured some members of staff that the payments would raise no eyebrows, alleging that his uncle had “done the needful” when the acting executive chairman of the FIRS was the special assistant on revenue to the president.

Nami was said to have travelled out of the country following the approval of the payments on September 16.

According to documents, the former FIRS chairman approved N5,628,496,823.04, $863,293.00 and £8,780 for express payment to 196 beneficiaries, all in one day.

He also approved the payment of N1,409,950,625.00 to 807 nominees for a ‘Business Case for Strategic Leadership’ retreat which is billed to take place in November 2023 while N250,325,000 was greenlit for FIRS Data Mining Management and Analytics in Taxation Course.

The ex-FIRS chairman further approved N221,311,840.00 to be paid to Odey Jacob & 611 others for “Skill Development and Management Improvement Workshop Training”; N42,398,000.00 was earmarked as payment to Mawo Dav Printing Nig. Ltd for the “production of letterhead papers & call cards” while another N36,513,718.75 was approved for Gebos Nig. Ltd — also for the production of letterhead papers and call cards.

Nami appropriated N81,488,127.00 to himself — and nine others — as estacode for a study visit to the Inland Revenue of Malaysia while N54,979,390 was approved for to CDP Partnership Ltd as payment for engagement as a consultant for “stage I &II quantity surveying services”.

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In total, over N591 million was approved as estacode payment for official trips made by staff to Rwanda, Kenya, and Morocco, among other countries.

The former FIRS boss approved over one billion as payment for the training of staff on tax disputes, capital market operations, and tax evasion strategies, among other modules.

As an engagement fee for consultancy work in respect of “education and enlightenment of civil society organisations”, Nami approved over N173 million to Juzor & Company Ltd. while Jiop Azzy Ltd was listed to receive over N132 million for the same purpose.

Nami also reportedly signed off on the payment of over N100 million to Skymart Capital Trading Ltd, Toplead Consulting Limited and Alim and Associates Limited for consultancy, monitoring and evaluation services.

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Photo Credit: Getty

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