The Chairman of the Niger State Internal Revenue Board, Mr Mohammed Etsu, says the allegations of financial misappropriation and unprofessional conduct against him are unfair.
Etsu said in an interview with newsmen in Minna on Friday that the foreign trips cited in the allegations were official trips.
According to him, the trips are based on invitation for training on tax development and reforms from Joint Tax Board, Outstanding Resources and Western Africa Tax Administrators forum.
For the benefit of hindsight, the chairman has been accused, in a letter written to the governor, of appointing special advisers he pays between N900,000 to N1.7 million monthly.
He was also accused of expending N29.2 million on air tickets and estacode on foreign trips in the past year.
The chairman, however, denied the allegations of appointing special advisers.
He explained that he did not appoint anybody but he sought the permission of the governor to get some technical staff from Federal Inland Services (FIRS) with regards to some specific duties to perform in the state.
He also said that the secretary to the state government was directed to write the FIRS to release the three people to come and assist him on the appointment.
“The three staff were released through the secretary to the state government,” he said.
He said that the three staff dictated monthly payments but with the agreement with FIRS, they were paid reasonably.
Estu noted that he had the matching orders and permissions to do whatever it takes to improve the state revenue.
He added that he had good working relationship with staff of the board, explaining that when he was appointed, his meeting with the staff was to solicit cooperation.
“I told them that I have signed a letter to stop the manual tax clearance and receipt and stop cash collections that it was outlaw for anybody to collect tax on behalf of the board.
“I improved on allocations to offices and open new offices and when I came in, the number of causal staff were twice the regular staff, especially graduates of 15 years working as casual staff, who will not be committed,” he said.
Etsu said that he had increased revenue generation from between N400 and N500 million monthly before his appointment to more than N1 billion as at August.
According to him, Niger is now ranked sixth in revenue growth year to year from Nigerian Bureau of Statistics.
The chairman explained that he posted some staff to rural area to improve performance and revenue generation, especially staff who had spent from four to five years on a particular position.
He said the posting generated a petition and the secretary to the state government summoned a meeting where the matter was found to be in line.
He gave assurance to residents of the state that the board would continue to work to improve revenue generation, noting that he had resolved to contribute his quota to the development of the state.(NAN)
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