FIRS accuses NIPOST of fraud, corruption, misinformation, threatens legal action

THE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria’s apex tax administration agency has accused the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) of illegality ranging from illicit operation of Stamp Duty account to suspected misappropriation of funds.

In a statement shared via its official Twitter page and signed by Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, FIRS Director of Communication and Liaison,  the agency vowed to ensure that all monies diverted to the wrong quarters by NIPOST would be remitted into the Federation Account, with proper accountability.

“The FIRS is determined to not only ensure that all monies collected by NIPOST into its illegally operated Stamp Duties Account are fully remitted into the Federation Account but also make sure that any kobo not accounted for in that account is legally recovered,” the statement read in part.

This follows allegation made by Maimuna Abubakar, Board Chairman of NIPOST, who in a series of Twitter posts stated that FIRS stole the mandate of the country’s postal service by ‘selling stamps.’

“I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless night because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate. FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us #justicefornipost,” her tweet read in part.

Abubakar further accused the tax agency of attempting to ‘kill and ‘bury’ NIPOST, demanding that the stolen mandate of the postal service is returned.

“FIRS did not only steal our stamps but also our ideas, what NIPOST had worked for since 2016, our documents, patent and sneaked everything into finance bill and tactically removed the name of NIPOST,” she lamented.

“I like to make this clear, NIPOST is the only agency charged with the responsibility of producing adhesive stamps and revenue for the for the purchase of such stamp accrues to NIPOST.”

But the FIRS in its response, clarified that ‘stamp duty’ is different from ‘postage stamp’, noting that the two separate entities were being mixed up by Abubakar.

“We appreciate the general public for demonstrating deep knowledge of the difference between Stamp Duty and Postage Stamp. It is unfortunate that Mrs. Maimuna Abubakar, Chairperson of the NIPOST Board is yet to understand this,” FIRS said.

“To be sure, NIPOST is a government parastatal established by Decree 41 of 1992 with the function to develop, promote, and provide adequate and efficiently co-ordinated postal services at reasonable rate.”

    Abubakar’s outburst follows the newly introduced collectible stamp duties on rent by the FIRS.

    The FIRS had earlier in July announced that stamp duty will be paid on house rent and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), in line with its new adhesive duty.

    Consequently, Ahmad urged Nigerians to ensure that documents that relate to rent and lease agreements for homes or offices, C of O, and other common business-related transaction instruments are authenticated with the new FIRS Adhesive Stamp Duty.

    “Stamp duty is a tax payable in respect of dutiable instrument as provided under the Stamp Duties Act, CAP S8, LFN 2004 (as amended),” Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of FIRS had clarified.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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