THE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Monday has denied funding the 2019 election campaign to the tune of N90 billion
Timi Frank, a former deputy spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had claimed that issues involving Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo and the presidency had started when the latter could not give an accurate account of the N90 billion earmarked for election campaign which was provided by the FIRS for election purposes.
However, Wahab Gbadamosi, FIRS’ director of information in a statement has dismissed the allegation. He claimed that the service annual allocation was not even up to the amount mentioned.
“The attention of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has been drawn to publication in some online and daily newspapers by a certain Comrade Timi Frank, the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who claimed that the FIRS supported the APC, through the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with a phantom N90 billion,” the statement read.
“The service called the allegation a mendacious, wicked, malicious and a calculated attempt to smear the image of the Service and that of his Excellency, the Vice President
“This campaign of calumny and vilifying false claims are entirely libelous, unfounded in fact, irresponsible and a brazen assault on the integrity of the Service as a responsible and accountable organisation and demonstrates an abysmal ignorance of the budgetary and expenditure process of the FIRS.
“That in the last four years since Mr. Tunde Fowler has supervised operations at the FIRS, the agency had not received up to N100 billion, per annum, as Cost of Collection from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC. FAAC is a public institution, whose records are open to the public.
“That it is from the remittances from FAAC—which had never grossed up to N100 billion, PER ANNUM, that FIRS pays the salary and emoluments and trains it’s over 8000 staff, runs over 150 offices and provides for other needs of the Service.
“That given the above, IT IS NOT PLAUSIBLE nor DOES IT MAKE ANY SENSE that FIRS will commit its resources to a phantom campaign of N90 billion as suggested by Mr Timi Frank and FIRS does not fund political associations.
“That FIRS is a creation of statute and its activities are governed by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and financial regulations and thus, IT IS NOT PLAUSIBLE, that its funds could be expended in such a cavalier manner as suggested by Mr Timi Frank.
“That FIRS Budget and expenditure approval processes pass through the Budget Office and the Ministry of Finance before such is presented to the National Assembly for Appropriation into Law. The National Assembly committees, consisting of all parties and inclinations exercise oversight function on all agencies of the Federal Government to ensure agencies keep to the letters of the Appropriation Act.
“Thus FIRS’ operations are subjected to Scrutiny and close monitoring by the National Assembly, the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee and the Ministry of Finance.
“It is therefore unthinkable, malicious and irresponsible for the said Frank to insinuate or infer that N90 billion or any part thereof could be spent illegally and without budgetary approval.”
FIRS has demanded an apology from Frank to be published in three leading newspaper within 24hours or it would take legal actions against him.
However, Frank in another statement Tuesday morning said he would not back down and ready to go to court.
“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?” he said.