The Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) says the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) is welcome to probe its activities and accounts.
This is in response to a petition filed by a non-governmental organisation, Kwara Advancement Initiative (KAI), which claimed it uncovered N325 million diverted from the accounts of the service.
According to a petition signed by Ibrahim Sulyman, the money was diverted in guise of payments for non-existing projects awarded to one Compumetric Solutions Limited (CSL).
The group demanded the ICPC to fish out the individual(s) behind the firm for the purpose of transparency and accountability to the people of Kwara.
Also, KAI accused Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of non-transparency, saying citizens could no longer access information that were usually readily available on the revenue agency’s website.
“This is why as a responsible organisation, we decided to beam searchlights and we are shocked to uncover so many financial frauds that have been carried out by top management officials of KWIRS in connivance with the ministry of finance.”
“On the 6th of April, 2020, we notice a payment of eighty four million, two hundred and sixty four thousand, six hundred and eleven naira, forty one kobo (N84,264,611.41) as gross payment of 15% collection fees on spendable collections to Compumetric Solutions Limited with voucher number 2020/0300. This payment voucher came with another net payment of seventy three million, eight hundred and thirty one thousand, eight hundred and fifty naira (#73,831,850.00) both as payments for the month of January, 2020″
“Also on the 6th May, 2020, another payment of 15% collections fees on spendable collections was made to same company with voucher number 2020/0345 for another non existing project. This time, a gross sum of forty four million, three hundred and sixteen thousand, three hundred and twenty naira (N44,316,320.00) while N40,771,014.40 was the net amount paid according to that voucher. This brings the total amount paid in the two vouchers for the month of January, 2020 to the tune of N114,602,864.40 (One hundred and fourteen million, six hundred and two thousand, eight hundred and sixty four naira and forty kobo).
“The above stated transactions have also cost the state government a statutory sum of N18,029,844.84 deducted for VAT, WHT and developmental levy expected to be paid to the FIRS and KW-IRS,” SaharaReporters reported.
Mr Sulyman noted that there is no agreement sent to the internal audit department of KW-IRS indicating that Compumetrics Solution Limited was due for payment of such magnitude for the service as expected.
Meanwhile, in her reaction, the chairperson of KW-IRS, Shade Omoniyi, denied the allegations saying the agency is ready to defend itself in case of a probe by ICPC.
“…the agency welcomes the ICPC or any probe of its activities for the new leadership has nothing to hide or bother about other than its integrity and the general good of the Kwara public.”
In a statement issued on Thursday, she stated that the new leadership of KW-IRS inherited some consultants who supplied what was known as Amanda software but was not being used by the service anymore.
She said an initial assessment carried out amongst its staff revealed that that the solution by Amanda software was not efficient to the service.
“The outcome of the survey affirmed that the solution was not efficient. In an attempt to resolve this issue, the platform providers were invited on 11th October 2019 to defend this position and, after deliberations and their acceptance of all the issues raised, they promised to resolve all the issues within two months. But the issues kept recurring and new ones developed even after the two months had elapsed. The system finally collapsed and users were locked out on 21st December 2019. The Service was only able to salvage the data by the proactive action backups done in-house at the inception of this administration.”
According to her, the new leadership developed a technical request for proposal which was sent to five different platform providers, listing all the expected deliverables of the required platform for efficient running of the Service.
“There were submissions of proposals and assessments of same were carried out by an internal team comprising all the necessary stakeholders in the agency, including representatives of the audit department.
“All the five firms made presentations to the team after which two were shortlisted for further clarifications and negotiations in line with global best practices. The KW-IRS team signed off at each milestone for the sake of due process.”
Mrs Omoniyi said that CSL was finally selected as the new consultants and a memorandum of understanding was duly signed and executed between both parties.
“The service has full records of this rigorous process. The CSL, a household name in Nigeria’s tax consultancy industry, works in various states of the federation. We wish to state that the CSL was engaged only after the former consultant’s contract was terminated.”
On the allegations that CSL was not rendering any service, the chairperson noted that the backend interface by the company has been deployed since January 2020, which involves the integration of the platform with all the payment platforms, solutions providers’ systems, and all the collecting banks’ platforms.
Speaking on the prudence of the current administration, she said the current consultants have only been paid N357 million since the inception of this administration compared to the payout of about N3.5 billion in one year to consultants under the previous administration.