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Why we paid N5bn to Joint Tax Board – Former FIRS Chairman, Nami

The former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, has debunked an online report alleging that he gave approval for payments of huge amounts of money after his retirement.

DAILY POST reports that an online newspaper earlier on Thursday alleged that Nami approved the payments of N11 billion to several contractors, consultants and others after his exit on September 14.

However, reacting to the allegations, Nami, in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, described the report as mischievous, saying the entire story was “sensationally written with mischief that took the ordinary events of my work out of context with the intent to tarnish my image”.

The former FIRS boss, however, explained that the service paid about N5 billion to the Joint Tax Board to fund the activities of the Presidential Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy Reforms two months before his exit.

According to him, the money was paid after the FIRS received a letter from the office of President Bola Tinubu and signed by Zacchaeus Adedeji, his successor.

The statement reads, “Fundamentally: It is important to note that no payment was made by the Service after the announcement of my pre-retirement leave, as claimed by this story.

“Approval for payment in the service is one step of the journey to payment. It is the custom that when a new Executive Chairman resumes office, he will review, validate and make final authorisation before any payments can be made.

“It is important to note for the record that all decisions reached and extant liabilities/ commitments of the Service during my stay in office are contained in the handover notes I made available to my successor, Mr. Zacch Adedeji.

“He is fully briefed on everything. For clarity, the items listed in the Cable Newspaper Report were part of the N16 billion outstanding commitments contained in our handover note.

“The N5 billion paid to the Joint Tax Board was paid to fund the activities of the Presidential Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy Reforms two months before I left office. It was paid after we received a letter to that effect from the office of Mr. President signed by Zacch Adedeji himself.

“The report maliciously attempts to portray a picture that I hurriedly left the country on September 16th after these so-called “suspicious approvals” were made.

“Again, nothing can be further from the truth. If I travelled out of the country on the 16th of September, how would I then attend the handover ceremony with Mr. Zacch on the afternoon of Monday, 18th September 2023? That handover ceremony was covered by the media and can be cross-checked.

“It is disappointing to see an online newspaper attempt to sensationalise events that took place in the ordinary course of work in an office, making them seem as if they were done in bad faith.

“I want to categorically state that every decision I made within the time of my stay in office was within the ambit of the law and within the lawful powers I exercised then as Executive Chairman.

“I inherited only N1.4 billion in the purse of the FIRS when I assumed office. I left N129 billion in the purse of the Service when I left”.