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Just In: EFCC arrests ex-FIRS boss and Tinubu’s associate, Tunde Fowler over fraud allegations against Alpha Beta

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is presently interrogating a former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, over the N100 billion tax evasion allegations levelled against a tax firm, Alpha Beta Consulting.

Fowler, who was also a former Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, responded to an invitation from the EFCC on Monday, multiple sources in Abuja confirm to NewsWireNGR.

Babatunde Fowler, the 2015 – 2019 boss of the Federal Inland and Revenue Service has today been arrested by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). – he is also a very close associate of All Progressives Congress National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Controversy with Alpha- Beta

Last month, A former Managing Director of Alpha Beta Consulting, Oladapo Apara, alleged that former Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ‘suspiciously’ diverted N22,360,000,000 and $4,396,063 from the firm’s account to that of Vintage Press Ltd, publisher of The Nation Newspaper.

In writ of summons marked LD/7330GCMW/2020 deposed at a Lagos high court, Apara, who claims to own 30 per cent stake in the company, alleged that the former governor reneged on certain agreements reached in the past about the management and control of the consulting firm.

NewsWireNGR cannot independently confirm if the two cases are connected but before the President’s refusal to renew Mr Fowler’s tenure at the Tax office, NewsWireNGR recalls that on August 8, 2019, President Buhari had queried Fowler for worsening tax revenues since 2015.

In the query signed by Chief of Staff Abba Kyari, Buhari told Fowler: “Accordingly, you are kindly invited to submit a comprehensive variance analysis explaining the reasons for the variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for each main tax item for each of the years 2015 to 2018.”

The query reads in parts,“In 2015, FIRS set N4.7 trillion target but was only able to make N3.7 trillion in the actual collection. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the target collections were N4.2 trillion, N4.8 trillion and N6.7 trillion but the actual collections were N3.3 trillion, N4.0 trillion and N5.3 trillion, respectively.”

Fowler had begged for a second term in office in a letter addressed to Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

The letter reads in part: “I wish to present myself for reappointment for a second term. This is consistent with the provisions of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 and would grant me the opportunity to consolidate and build on the achievements we have recorded in the past four years.

“Please find attached the highlights of my achievements during my first tenure in office.

“I would like to put on record my gratitude to Mr. President for the opportunity to serve the nation. I am also thankful for your support in the course of the discharge of my duties. Please accept as always, the assurance of my highest regards.”

The letter was dated December 9, 2019–same day President Buhari announced his replacement.

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