An anti-corruption coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to immediately commence investigation on the 11-month tenure of the immediate past Chairman and Chief Executive, Lagos Board of Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, who has been accused of misappropriating N4.2billion.
In a petition addressed to the anti-graft agency and signed by CSNAC’s national chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition noted that the money involved is the direct tax from the sweat and pains of Lagosians and business operators in the state: hence the need for a diligent investigation.
The coalition took the cue of its petition from the August 28, 2016 report of an online Newspaper, Sahara Reporters, where details of how Mr Ogunsanwo could not, allegedly, account for the sum of N4.2 billion belonging to the State Government was revealed.
“The report stated that Mr Olufolarin Ogunsanwo’s (who spent 11 months in office) sack from the revenue-collection agency, dressed up as retirement, was communicated in an internal memo dated 26 August and signed by J. Aina, Board Secretary.
“The memo informed staff that Ogunsanwo was proceeding on retirement from 25 August and directed to hand over to Akintola Bolaji, Director Tax Audit, without any information on reasons instigating his early retirement.
“Relating to his retirement, according to our independent investigation, it was allegedly discovered that Mr. Ogunsanwo could not account for about N4.2 billion belonging to the State Government through the agency. This development was said to have earned him a query from Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was not impressed with Ogunsanwo’s explanation.
“He was therefore forced to proceed on compulsory leave, pending the conclusion of investigations into the unaccounted sum. During the investigation, Mr Ogunsanwo was said to have refunded the sum of N1.2 billion. Due to his cooperation with the investigators, the government spared him the embarrassment of being exposed but reportedly sacked him from office without public disclosure of reasons responsible for the summary removal from office.”
CSNAC noted further that in view of this, “it is expedient that this act should be curbed as this is a shameful act to LAGOS in particular and the nation at large. The money involved is the direct tax from the sweat and pains of Lagosians and business operators in the State.
“It will amount to injustice and gross abuse of office for the ex-tax master to be sacked without a refund of the misappropriated fund or for the matter to be treated as an internal affair of the State government.
“CSNAC is therefore calling for an urgent investigation of your Commission into this allegation. Every Naira not properly accounted should be retrieved from Mr. Ogunsanwo must be retrieved to serve as lesson and deterrent to his successor and other public officers,” the petition said.