Govt charges five for tax fraud

tax-identification-numberTHE Federal Government yesterday filed a 13-count criminal charge against three former staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and two fake tax operatives for allegedly swindling the nation of huge sums of money vide issuance of forged tax clearance certificates to some companies.

Batimehin Ojo, Atere Olutayo Ayodeji and Adegbite Adewale as well as the two fake operatives – Yusuf Olatunji and Mustapha Dodo ­– were believed to have impersonated a former Senior Tax Manager with FIRS, Nwogu Chris, to issue out fake tax clearance certificates to some unsuspecting tax payers.

In the charge filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, the accused persons, among others, were alleged to have in November 2011 conspired and forged companies’ Income Tax clearance certificates with Serial No: 05329283 covering tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010 in favour of Release Auto Garage Company Limited.

The documents were purportedly issued by the former Senior Tax Manager contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.

They were accused of presenting the forged tax papers to one Simeon Oluwafemi Babatunde for the verification of tax clearance of the automobile company contrary to Section 43(a) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Act 2007.

The accused were also believed to have forged a seal of the FIRS which they appended on the certificates to secure the clearance for the affected company contrary to Section 43(d) of the FIRS Act.

The charge sheet also indicated that the suspects on December 18, 2013 forged another sets of same document with Serial No: 05403894 covering tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012 in favour of the same automobile firm.

The Assistant Director and Head, Criminal Prosecution Unit, Legal Department, FIRS, James Binang yesterday confirmed filing the charge on behalf of government with proof of evidence and names of witnesses.

Although, the accused persons were to be arraigned before Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati yesterday, the arraignment was, however, stalled due to the judge’s absence.
The accused were subsequently returned to FIRS custody pending their arraignment.

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