Posted by Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja | 12 May 2018 | 1,632 times
Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun announced at the weekend that the federal government has paid some N439.276 million to another set of 14 whistleblowers who provided tips on tax evaders.
Adeosun said that the payment was made this week, after the government received N13.8 billion from the affected tax evaders, who she named as mainly corporate organisations, following tips by the whistleblowers.
“The Whistleblower Policy started in December 2016. Since then, we have had 8, 373 37communications of which 1,231 were actually tips.
“We have conducted 534 investigations; 10 prosecutions and four convictions.
“This week, we paid whistleblowers the sum of N439.276 million, it was to 14 people who provided specific tips on tax evasions about companies who deliberately evaded or underpaid taxes. Working on those tips, we have held discussions with those companies and they have paid N13.8 billion which we have confirmed have been paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service,” she stated, briefing the press.
She said that the government is receiving far more tip on tax evasions under the VAIDS, a tax amnesty scheme which is now expected to wrap up in June 2018, after a few months extension.
“We are getting far more tips on tax evasions, which of course is a crime against us all and this is a new trend that we thought is worth bringing to your attention. So these people, are being paid this month.
“This is the first time we are having that number where we have concluded either communication with companies and the companies have actually paid the money to FIRS,” she stated.
Adeosun said that the government would be revising some of the modes of operations of the whistleblowing strategy based on what the team officials learnt from a recent trip to the United Kingdom.
She also disclosed that the federal government is actively preparing cases for prosecution against tax evaders and that very serious actions would be taken at the expiration of the tax amnesty programme in June.
She also hinted that Certificate of compliance on the VAIDs would be exposed next week.
On the federal government’s efforts to get rid of the ghost workers from the system, the minister said that there are still some irregularities in the payroll, and assured that her team is paying close attention to eliminate them.
“For instance, we are investigating some cases where name on the payroll is different from the name on the bank account.
“We are looking at that. In some cases, it is as simple as some people got married and did not update their names but in other cases, it is a matter of fraud. This is just to give you an idea of how detailed we go and we keep checking the payroll on a regular basis,” she further explained.
Adesoun also disclosed that the ongoing efforts have exposed over 100 properties of the nation’s foreign missions and federal government agencies which were not captured in an earlier audit.
“Teams visited foreign missions and discovered that foreign missions and some government agencies had over 100 properties that were not recorded. Some abandoned, and some people trying to sell them off and we have to stop them,” she said. (Business Day)
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