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Buhari names Nami to replace Fowler as FIRS boss

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the composition of a new board for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) subject to Senate confirmation.

According to the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, who disclosed this through his official Twitter handle, President Buhari named a renowned tax consultant, Muhammad M. Nami as the new chairman.

Nami replaces Babatunde Fowler, whose tenure expired on Monday,  December 9, 2019.

Fowler was appointed by the president on  August 20, 2015  and was confirmed on December 9, 2015.

He is expected to hand over to the most senior director on the board, who will take charge, pending the senate confirmation of the new board.

What to know about Muhammed M. Nami

Muhammad, a well-trained Tax, Accounting and Management professional with highly rated qualifications and professional practice and licenses from relevant professional bodies, has almost three decades of practical working experience in Auditing, Tax Management and Advisory and Management services to clients in the banking, manufacturing, services and public sectors as well as non- profit organizations.

He is an expert in rendering advisory support services to investors in respect of new business start-ups and management of existing businesses. He has also continuously rendered outsourced services to clients in trading, service and manufacturing sectors of the nation’s economy.

Muhammad Nami attended Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology (1991) and a Masters of Business degree (2004) respectively. He is a fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Institute of Debt Recovery Practitioners of Nigeria and Associate Member of Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria.

He started his career with PFK in 1993 and rose to the position of a senior Consultant in charge of Tax management and advisory services. He is currently the managing consultant of Manam Professional Services (Chartered Tax Practitioners and Business Advisers) based in Kaduna, Abuja, Niger State.

Muhammad has served, and is still serving, on many companies’ Board and Statutory Board Audit Committees. He was appointed as a member, Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Stolen Assets in November, 2017 by President Buhari.

Controversies that dotted Fowler’s tenure as FIRS Boss

During his four year tenure in the office, Babatunde Fowler was not without controversy as the chairman of FIRS. It was during one of those controversies that Nigerians started to suspect he might not return at the expiration of his tenure. One of such moments was the letter written by Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari to Fowler on the dwindling collection of revenue by FIRS under his watch.

Abba Kyari’s query over worsening tax collection

According to a report by The Punch, a letter dated August 8, 2019, and addressed to the former FIRS chairman, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, asked Fowler to explain reasons for ‘significant’ variances in budgeted collections and actual collections of tax in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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The letter stated that, in 2015, actual collection was N3.7trillion, while the budgeted target was N4.5trillion.

A similar shortfall occurred in 2016, when actual collection was N3.307trillion, less than the N4.95trillion budgeted target.

Also, in 2017, the FIRS collected a total of N4.027trillion, less than the set target of N4.89trillion.

In 2018, actual collection was N5.32trillion, while the budgeted target was N6.7trillion.

The only year FIRS has failed to meet up with it’s target revenue before Fowler’s tenure was in 2006. It’s target revenue was pegged at 3,054,100,000,000 while it made 1,866,200,000,000

The UK authorities’ claims on Fowler’s alleged fake documents

Before now, Fowler has  escaped many booby traps set on his path by his traducers after his appointment by the president.

Barely  a week after Abba Kyari’s claim,  Sourceng reported that the former FIRS boss was said to be parading fake university certificates.

The actual claim was made by popular social media critic, Farouq Kperogi in 2015 on his Facebook page.

He wrote, “After months of delays, ostensibly to properly vet his appointees, President Buhari just appointed somebody that may turn out to be a total fraud.

He appointed a certain “Dr.” William Babatunde Fowler as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

In a news release signed by Femi Adesina, this red flag appears on the man’s qualifications: “Fowler, who holds an Honorary Doctorate Degree [sic] of the Irish International University, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and the Business Management Association of the United Kingdom. Well, Irish International University is a fraudulent, non-existent university.”

The activist again on August 2, 2019 reiterated the allegation which he posted on his social media.

“I fear that if this Fowler certificate were looked into, a big scandal may break out. His Bachelor’s degree, for instance, is said to be from the university of Wisconsin and his masters degree from California State University,” Kperogi wrote.

“The trouble is, university of Wisconsin and California State universities are multiple campus universities: you can’t just say you attended the university of Winconsin without mentioning the location.
The university of Wisconsin has 26 campuses and California State University has 23 campuses.”
There, looking at Dr. Fowler’s certificate, “something is fishy here,” Kperogi said in the allegation.

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