*Tunde Fowler sighted in office presiding over New TIN Registration flag-off
A report purporting that the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, was on the run has been described as “an amateurish concoction by some cowardly blackmailers”.
This came as the FIRS Executive Chairman and Chairman JTB today (Monday, May 6) received at the Abuja corporate headquarters the TIN Project Completion Report in preparation for official flag-off the New Tax Identification Number (TIN) Registration System, urging tax authorities to intensify registration with a view to expanding the tax base and meeting revenue target for the financial year.
The story circulated by an electronic platform named “LeadingReport” claimed that the Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, went into hiding following manhunt for him by EFCC over alleged diversion of funds in the tax office based on the confession by one of the suspects.
Three weeks ago, there was a confirmed report that EFCC had taken some FIRS officers into custody for allegedly defrauding the service by filing bogus DTA (Duty Tour Allowance) claims for fictitious trips.
Contacted for reaction to the allegation against the FIRS boss, the information officer with the service claimed ignorance of the report and “should not be heard dignifying a beer parlor hear-say” with official response.
However, a director who read the story on a social media platform dismissed the entire account as the “handiwork of some desperate blackmailers who have been at the receiving end of the ongoing far-reaching reforms in FIRS”.
The senior official, who claimed to be familiar with issues raised by the report, agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity on the sidelines of TIN’s flag-off presided over by Fowler because he was not formally authorized to comment.
Amid laughter, he asked rhetorically: “If Fowler is on the run as the purveyor of the fake news wanted us to believe, how come he is not just in office today but also presiding over a major event (TIN flag-off) like this witnessed by the media?
“Don’t forget that as a federal institution subject to certain rules and regulation, FIRS provides an office for EFCC right at the Abuja headquarters and is manned by regular EFCC operatives. How come they are sitting-by now and not effecting Fowler’s arrest?
“This goes to show that the story is a pedestrian fiction by some cowards who cannot come out in the open and challenge Fowler and instead have elected to hurriedly create a WhatApp account to be circulating wild allegations against an innocent man.
It is true that the Chairman has spearheaded the effort to rid the service of bad elements in recent times. I know him to be a cool-headed man who is not easily distracted by the antics of blackmailers and will not relent in his current efforts to make FIRS achieve better results.”