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Revenue Agency Official Convicted Over N14 Million Tax Scam

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A Lagos State High Court has convicted a senior staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mubo Ikotun, for demanding and collecting a bribe to enable a company, Messrs. Smit Nigerian Limited, to evade tax. The court also convicted the company.

The two had been dragged to court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.

Messrs. Smith Nigerian Limited was convicted for allegedly bribing Mubo Ikotun, the second accused, and some other staff of FIRS to reduce its tax liability assessed at N13.9 million to the sum of N441, 653 in a fraudulent manner.

The company, according to ICPC, got the tax relief through fraudulent means and was issued a Tax Clearance Certificate, TCC, upon paying the sum of N441, 635.00 to the FIRS.

Ikotun, a superior officer to John Fagbemi (1st Accused) also of the FIRS, was alleged to have used her office to solicit and receive a cash gratification of N2.5 million to grant the tax relief to the said company.

The court however acquitted and discharged Fagbemi. It also freed A. Temowo, the third accused, and K.Oduneye, the forth accused who was the consultants who negotiated the bribe on behalf of the company.

The company was convicted for engaging in a conspiracy to effect the payment of the gratification and also for its failure to report the obtaining of the gratification.

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According to ICPC’s testimony at the court, the convict, upon receiving the gratification, proceeded to purchase a Skoda Octavia salon car which she had converted to personal use.

She equally concealed the ownership of the car while declining to produce the said car to the officers of ICPC who made a request to that effect in the process of their investigation.

A charge sheet on the case read, “The conviction secured in the case of ICPC v Fagbemi, involves the solicitation & payment of gratification in the sum of N2,500,000 by Messrs Smit Nigeria Ltd (5th Accused) to two officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as inducement for them agreeing to effect the drastic reduction of its earlier assessed tax liability put at N13,938,905.61 in return for its payment of a paltry sum of N441,653.42 as its downwardly reduced reviewed tax liability & subsequent issuance of its tax Clearance Certificate”.

A petition detailing the tax evasion scam was submitted to the ICPC in 2006.

The court presided over by Justice O.A. WiIIiams, however, adjourned the imposition of sentences on both convicted accused persons to November 4 this year.

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