Benue Internal Revenue Services Denies Existence of Tax Racketeering Syndicate

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The Benue Internal Revenue Services (BIRS) has denied the existence of a tax racketeering syndicate within its organization. A group called Benue Advocate for Good Governance had alleged that the chairman of the board, Mr. Emmanuel Agema, was involved in illegal activities. The group claimed that touts were collecting revenue on behalf of the BIRS office, receipts were being reprinted and sold, and money was going into private pockets. Agema, however, dismissed these claims, stating that they were baseless and aimed at discrediting the hard work of the BIRS staff. He assured that the BIRS was working diligently to ensure proper tax collection and remittance.
 

Leadership of the Benue Internal Revenue Services (BIRS) has refuted claims of a tax racketeering syndicate within the organization.

The board has dismissed the false allegations made against its chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Agema.

A group called Benue Advocate for Good Governance (BAGG) wrote an open letter to the state governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Iormem Alia, claiming that there was a tax racketeering syndicate led by the acting chairman and a few staff members who aimed to defraud the state.

The letter, jointly signed by Tersoo Abagi and Inelagwu Adakole, was titled “the unwholesome illegal activities going on at the BIRS.”

According to the group, “we have discovered with great dismay that touts are still collecting revenue on behalf of the BIRS office with the connivance of some BIRS staff. We have also discovered that receipts are being reprinted and sold, with the money going into private pockets. This is happening especially at Zaki Biam, Katsina-ala, Ugba, and Vandeikya checkpoints.”

“These illegal activities are being carried out under the watchful eyes of the acting chairman and other key officials in your government who are determined to sabotage your efforts in building the Benue of our dreams.”

In response, the Acting Chairman of BIRS, Mr. Emmanuel Agema, issued a statement denying the allegations.

Agema described the claims as baseless and an attempt to discredit the hard work of the service’s staff, who face various challenges in revenue collection.

He called on the state governor, Rev. Fr. Alia, and the people of Benue to disregard the open letter, as it was intended to mislead the public and tarnish the image of the dedicated BIRS team.

The statement read, “the state government established a task force to combat illegal mining, logging, and roadblocks in order to address these illegal activities. The fight against these criminals, who see revenue collection as an opportunity for criminal behavior, has been ongoing.”

“Recently, the acting chairman met with the leaders of the Task Force to collaborate on strategies to eliminate illegal roadblocks on our roads. It is therefore disheartening that a group advocating for good governance would be so misinformed.”

“The chairman has consistently emphasized his zero tolerance for illegal checkpoints and strongly condemns the issuance of fake receipts, extortion of taxpayers, and unrecorded collection of money at various inspection and monitoring points. The chairman is committed to using all lawful measures for tax collection and remittance, as taxation is a legal obligation.”

“It is important to note that shortly after the chairman’s appointment by the governor, he inaugurated a task force team comprising BIRS staff and security personnel. This team is responsible for monitoring revenue collection, ensuring compliance, and apprehending tax evaders.”

“So far, the team has achieved some successes, including the arrest of illegal checkpoint operators in Vandeikya, Kastina-Ala, Otukpa, Howe, and North Bank areas. Some of the culprits have been arraigned and detained. The team has also dismantled illegal checkpoints at Amaafu and Gungul.”

“It is worth noting that the chairman has only been in office for a little over a month, having been appointed on June 22, 2023, and resumed office on June 25. Despite this short period, he has been performing excellently in his duties, striving to generate optimal revenue for the state and support the governor in achieving the vital task of developing the state.”

 

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