100bn Tax evasion allegation is on charge sheet of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as it interrogates a former Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS), Babatunde Fowler.
Fowler’s appearance before the anti-graft commission follows an allegation by former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Beta Consulting, Dapo Apara, accusing it of tax evasion to the tune of N100billion.
Aside the fact that the amount is colossal, tax evasion, in a dispensation with supposedly zero tolerance for fraud, is a weighty matter indeed.
Apara had, in a petition to the EFCC in 2018, stated that Alpha Beta, the firm given exclusive rights to collect Internally Generated Revenue for the Lagos Government, “has become an avenue for official corruption of government officials, a conduit pipe for massive money-laundering scheme, tax evasion, among other vices.”
Apara made the allegations In a petition which was written by his lawyer, Adetunji Shoyoye and Associates, and he additionally alleged that the fraud had been covered by powerful politicians in the state.
“Over the years the company has been protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable, but our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on fighting corruption, which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm belief that it’s time to expose and open the can of worms called Alpha Beta Consulting.”, The petition read.
It was also signed by Adetunji Adegboyega on behalf of the law firm.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that Fowler was with the commission.
“Yes, Fowler responded to an invitation this morning. I believe he is still here,” he explained.
Uwujaren, however, did not comment on the investigation.
100bn Tax Evasion Allegation may not be totally new to those who have followed developments in the state.
It will be recalled that Alpha Beta first won the contract to collect and manage internal revenue for Lagos state during the tenure of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of Lagos State.
Amidst the huge sums running into several billions being generated arose speculations as to who actually owned the firm.
It was equally an issue of discussion in the recent #AntiSARS protests nationwide, in which Nigerian youths demanded the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police.
In the same vein, the state has also never denied claims that the company takes about 10 per cent of internally generated revenue of Lagos, estimated in 2016 to be about N40 billion every month.