Timi Frank, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday charged the “Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to bury their faces in their hands in shame over their gross act of corruption.”
Frank stated this in response to the denial by FIRS that they handed over N90bn to Osinbajo during the last elections.
The political analyst had raised an alarm that Osinbajo’s ongoing travails was allegedly due to corruption and has nothing to do with 2023 politics.
He had claimed that he has reliable 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.
But, the FIRS has said it did not make N90 billion available to Vice-President for election campaign.
It accused Frank of seeking cheap popularity while threatening that it would file a libel suit if he refuses to tender an apology in three major newspapers within the next 24 hours.
However, Frank has insisted that he cannot be intimidated by the agency’s threat to sue him.
In a statement he signed and sent to DAILY POST, the former APC Deputy spokesperson described the tax agency’s “rantings as a puerile attempt to sweep the main issues in his public statement under the carpet.”
He said FIRS thinks they can continue to deceive Nigerians by claiming unfounded budgetary fidelity.
Frank said: “I read the statement by the Federal Inland Revenue Service and I am rather disappointed at their intellectual laziness.
“Who is the FIRS trying to fool by claiming that their annual subvention is not up to a N100 billion? That is an unintelligent attempt to fool the public.
“The FIRS, like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission are revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government that do not depend on budgetary subventions.
“These agencies are able to appropriate huge funds from the monies they generate for their use.”
He urged the agency to come clean and tell Nigerians the reason for the discrepancies which exist in their records of tax collection.
“For example, on January 7, 2019, the Federal Inland Revenue Service announced that it had broken Nigeria’s all-time revenue generation record, by generating N5.3trillion in 2018.
“However, on 18th August, 2019, the FIRS’ boss was queried for poor performance and under remittances to the Federation Account by the Chief of Staff to General Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari.
“Kyari’s letter to the FIRS’s Boss, Tunde Fowler, was to the intent that the reported ‘record breaking’ revenue the agency claimed to have generated was in reality not up to the revenues generated in the previous Peoples Democratic Party-led administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The query, which was widely published in all newspapers and online media channels, was as a result of the N90billion that the FIRS illegally funneled to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for the 2019 elections which led to the shortfall.
“The FIRS should bury their head in the mud and apologise to Nigerians for aiding and abetting corruption,” he said.
The Bayelsa-born activist called on the anti-corruption agencies to arrest and prosecute the leadership of the Service for aiding and abetting corruption.
He said: “The big question is: what is responsible for the discrepancy? These are questions that the FIRS should be explaining to Nigerians rather than trying to be clever by half in claiming that they do not get up to N100 billion per annum, when in fact they expend 50 times that amount.
“I therefore call for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the leadership of the FIRS for fraud and money laundering.
“I stand by my statement and am not going to tender any apology to FiRS. They are the ones to apologize to Nigerians for illegally spending taxpayers’ money on elections.
“I cannot be intimidated by threats. I am prepared to meet them in court. Why are they crying more than the bereaved if they have nothing to hide?
“Why did they decide to respond on behalf of the Vice President, who is the main issue here? Is the FIRS now Osinbajo’s mouthpiece?”