EFCC interrogates FIRS top officials over financial scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is grilling some top officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over alleged financial malfeasance.

It involves the approval and payment of duty tour allowances to hundreds of its staff members, sources said.
According to Daily Trust, the anti-graft agency for several weeks has been inviting staff of the FIRS to explain funds received in their salary accounts, aggregated payments that ran into billions of Naira.

According to a source close to the investigation, the level of graft that was discovered was pervasive and involved many staff members in the Service.

It was explained that the funds being investigated were not funds received as Tax, but the support services funds of the organization.
It was learnt y that the coordinator support services group Peter Hena, said to be on leave had left the country for Israel.

Sources said Hena, who was supposed to have returned to Abuja on 6 April, sent in his resignation letter. He claimed to be sick and in need of medical attention abroad.

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As Coordinating Director, he has supervisory oversight over the Human Capital Management and Development, Finance and Accounts, Revenue Accounting, Facility, Security and Safety Management and Procurement Departments.

The EFCC is said to be looking for Hena to explain why he made approvals and authorized payment of the funds.
It was gathered that acting on a petition, the EFCC discovered the alleged fraud in the duty tour allowance payment to staff in some instances for up to a hundred days without travelling.

The scam, according to a source involved receiving several tranches of payments as duty tour allowances in their salary accounts then remitting an agreed percentage to third-party account.

According to Daily Trust, EFCC investigators uncovered the irregularities from checking the soft-ware payroll system of staff of the organization and the attendance registers.
A source said, “for instance, some of the staff were questioned on why they received huge amounts of money in their accounts, but evidence from the staff attendance register showed that they did not travel.”

“Many of them explained how they remitted the money to a particular account and kept a percentage,” some of the staff were made to write statements and allowed to go home.
The investigation revealed a chain of fraud that allegedly involved many top management officials who took advantage of the loose accountability deficiency in the organization to carry out the scam.

The residences of some of the directors were searched and some of them have been detained by the EFCC, in what is described as an ongoing investigation.

When contacted, the acting spokesman of the EFCC, Tony Orilade said he is not aware of the arrest and investigation. Daily Trust

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