Just like allegations raised two months ago on the exorbitant budgetary allocation of funds for uniforms and meals, another can of worm is opened on the legality of spendings by Nigeria’s apex tax body; the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
This time, the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation is frowning at how the tax agency raised a payment voucher to the tune of ₦138.5 million not backed by necessary extant laws. In a similar light, the federal agency has been accused of non-retirement of personal advances within a financial year and grant of cash advances above the approved limits and payments without vouchers.
As contained in a recently published annual report of the Auditor General of the Federation for 2019, certain payments were raised without receipts, originating memos, Store Receipt Vouchers (SRV), invoices, and other relevant documents.
The Indictment Continues…
- In a continuous revelation, the audit report showed that the FIRS awarded a contract for marketing communication services to a tune of ₦75,000,000 for 1 year where the sum of ₦42,640,993 was made as part payment. What becomes the bone of contention is that the statutory tax of ₦4,264,099 from the payment was not deducted. This is in contravention of extant laws.
- The FIRS during the same period is indicted to make payment of Duty Tour Allowances, DTA without a proper narration as legally stipulated. These DTA’s amount to ₦21,300,000.
- The allocation of funds above the approved limits for meals and refreshments during official meetings by the FIRS has also been captured appropriately. This in figures, amounted to ₦40,234,099 contrary to the provisions of the Extant Circular.
- Funding career profession progression of staffers as against extant provisions also made it to the long list. The audit observed from the review of seven payment vouchers that the FIRS made payments on behalf of staff to their respective professional bodies annual subscriptions, fees, and other related charges which are linked to the career progression of the individual officers to professional bodies amounting to ₦26,268,640.
“Attendance of courses leading to professional qualifications shall be at the expense of the officers themselves. As a matter of emphasis, MDAs shall no longer pay for course fees and allowances for officers attending training programmes arranged or sanctioned by their respective professional bodies”.- Establishment Circular from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation rd (OHCSF) with reference No. HCSF/PSO/784/III/2 of 23 January 2009 states that “
Suggested Implications of the Irregularities
The Office of the Auditor-General in a recent presentation to the Federal House of Representatives has mulled the following aftermaths from the numerous indictment:
- Indication of clear weaknesses in the internal control system at the FIRS, capable of promoting fraudulent activities.
- This also implies that these financial offenses could translate to loss of government funds and/or diversion of public funds.
The aftermath of the Audit
Following the report, the following are recommended:
- Provision by the Executive Chairman of FIRS relevant supportive documents such as receipts, originating memos, Store Receipt Vouchers (SRV), invoices, etc. to the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.
- For the above, the report recommends further that sanctions be applied in the case of gross misconduct in paragraph 3129 of the Financial Regulations.
- In a similar vein, the FIRS is also required to provide evidence of the statutory tax deductions and remittance of ₦4,264,099 to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.
- For the above, the report wants to be applied, sanctions relating to failure to collect and account for government revenue in paragraph 3112 of the Financial Regulation.