Outgoing FIRS boss canvasses support for successor

The outgoing acting Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Kabir Mashi, who was removed from office on Wednesday by President Goodluck Jonathan, canvassed support for his successor, Samuel Ogungbesan.

Mr. Mashi was speaking during his valedictory meeting with FIRS Coordinating Directors and top management staff in Abuja, where he announced the Federal Government’s decision to appoint his successor to the office.

A short statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, had announced Mr. Mashi’s ouster, and the appointment of Mr. Ogungbesan, who until his appointment, was a Coordinating Director at FIRS.

Mr. Mashi had served as acting Chairman of the Service since 2012.

“Luckily enough, FIRS is a family and we should continue to work as a team. I believe we will continue to work and support each other as a family. I urge and encourage you to work as a family and give him all the support he needs to succeed. If he succeeds, the credit goes to all of you that has succeeded. I am sure he will succeed,” Mr. Mashi said.

In his response, Mr. Ogungbesan thanked his predecessor for his achievements in office in the last three years.

The new Chairman said he was lucky that Mr. Mashi would still be around, in case he needed his continued assistance on issues to move the Service forward.

“We are together,” Mr. Ogungbesan told Mr. Mashi. “I thank you for all you have done in the last three years. If there is need for us to change anything, we will all sit down and do so. Let us all sit down and do our work.

“We are building a very good culture here. This is our country and we will work together to build a strong economy. I hope to enjoy all the support from all of you around the table,” he said.

Mr. Ogungbesan, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and an Associate member of Nigerian Institute of Management.

He joined FIRS as an Inspector of Taxes II and has risen to his present level, having handled challenging responsibilities and assignments in various departments within the Service.

Apart from pioneering the administration of Large Taxpayers Unit in Lagos, Mr. Ogungbesan had represented the FIRS in many tax conferences and seminars, both in Nigeria and overseas.

He had served in Tax Policy Department of the Service for many years and was pioneer Director, Planning Reporting and Statistics Department.

He was a major player during the review of Nigerian Tax Laws in 2005, when he was appointed Coordinating Director, Tax Operations Group in February 2010.

Until his appointment, Mr. Ogungbesan was Coordinating Director, Standards and Compliance Group, which delineates and articulates service wide operational standards for tax practice in the FIRS.

Mr. Ogungbesan is a strong advocate of change, with focus on improvement in the tax administration system in Nigeria.

Mr. Mashi took over from the former Executive Chairman, Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru in April 2012.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Solomon Oyakhilome, recently sued the Federal Government before the Federal High Court, Lagos seeking his removal as acting chairman of FIRS.

Mr. Oyakhilome, who joined the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, and the FIRS in the suit, had challenged Mr. Mashi’s appointment into the office in acting capacity for more than three years.

Though the process to select a substantive Chairman for the Service had commenced in 2012, and actually proceeded to a stage where a nominee, Mfon Akpan, was presented to the Senate for screening, it was stalled following stiff opposition from Northern lawmakers.

Since then, Mr. Mashi had remained in office in acting capacity, till his removal on Wednesday.


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