Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Tax: Whistle blowers get N439million reward

 

Fourteen whistle blowers have received the sum of N439.27million as reward for providing reliable tips on individuals and companies that evaded their tax obligations to the federal government.

The whistle blower policy is a public interest instrument developed in December 2016 to help in the fight against corruption. Under the policy, government promised between 2.5percent to 5percent of recovered funds as incentives to persons who provide actionable tips that leads to the recovery of funds.

The whistle blowing bill before the national assembly seeks to protect information providers by making it an offence to disclose the identity of a whistle blower or victimise them.

Confirming the latest payment to newsmen in Abuja, the minister of finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said government was able to recover N14.8billion into the tax poll, as a result of the tips provided by the whistle blowers.

Although the minister was silent on the identity of the tax defaulters, she said the tips on tax evasion are quite unique and different from the past trend where whistle blowers focus on stolen funds alone. Adeosun is optimistic that the recoveries made and rewards paid, will chart a new course for tax recovery in the country.

“The whistle blower policy started in December 2016 and since then we have had 8373 communications of which 1231 of them are actually tips. We have carried out 534 investigations, we’ve got 10 under prosecutions and we have secured 4convictions.

“So far the sum of N7.8billion have been shared $378million 27800pounds. But in the recent batch paid this week (last week), for the first time we paid N439,276,099.86k to 14 people who gave us specific tips on tax evasion.

“Because of the specific tips they gave us about companies, who have in most cases deliberately underpaid their taxes. With that specific information provided, we were able to communicate with the companies and recovered the sum of N14.8billion as a result of those specific tips and so we paid that set of whistle blowers N439.27million this month.”

Adeosun said this recovery is a new feat for the ministry, considering that most tips provided in the past were about stolen money.

“With the extension of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme and our genuine narrative about tax, we are getting far more tips on tax evasion, and that is a new trend that we are seeing. So while people are being paid this month, this is the first time that we that number where we have been able to conclude either investigations or communications with the companies.”

Already, she said the companies have paid the recovered funds to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

 

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