ICPC, CITN Plan Sanctions Against Tax Offenders
Arrangements have gone into overdrive for tax evasion to be reduced to the barest minimum in Nigeria.
This obviously will be the outcome of the collaboration wrought between the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) which culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on staff training for ICPC recently.
The signing ceremony which took place at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, saw ICPC’s Acting Chairman, Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar and CITN President, Chief Cyril Ekemefuna Ede appending their signatures to the document on behalf of the Commission and the Institute respectively.
Speaking during the brief ceremony, Dr. Abubakar, declared that tax evasion was an offence punishable under the ICPC law, and that training in areas of taxation would boost the performance of operatives investigating tax and non-tax related matters. He noted that the Commission had frequently been able to nail suspects from the angle of their tax status, especially in cases that investigations seemed to have run into a brick wall.
The Acting Chairman also expressed optimism that having investigators and prosecutors of the Commission well-grounded in specialized areas will make the prosecution of offenders easier.
Earlier in his remarks, CITN President, explained that part of the Institute’s effort was to ensure that corruption did not have a place in tax administration.
Chief Ede added that to be able to confront the challenges of tax evasion, officers needed to have the requisite knowledge, reiterating that continuous training and capacity development were essential towards building a strong institution.
The CITN boss described the signing of the MoU as the beginning of a commitment towards the survival of the Nigerian project.
He also commended ICPC on the successes it had recorded since its inception, saying that the Commission’s preventive initiative was a noble idea.
Under the MOU, the CITN commits to training ICPC operatives into experts in the area of taxation, and equipping them with the required knowledge needed to fight corruption in the tax sector.
In another decelopment, the Regional Manager, Africa for Immigration Enforcement, British High Commission, Abuja, Mr. B. Crosby, has described the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as “a partner of choice to the British Government.”
Mr. Crosby, gave this commendation when he visited ICPC recently in the company of the Director of Immigration Intelligence, United Kingdom, Mr. David Pennant and was received by the Acting Chairman, ICPC, Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar.
Mr. Crosby was obviously referring to the numerous successes that ICPC had recorded against visa racketeering, especially for the British High Commission in Nigeria through the arrest and successful prosecution of many offenders.
He expressed his appreciation to ICPC for what he regarded as invaluable support, saying “we are here because you are allowing us to work with you,” and therefore assured the Commission of assistance in the area of “mentorship” for investigators.
Speaking in the same vein, The Director of Intelligence, Mr. Pennant, commended ICPC for its effort in curbing corruption in Nigeria, and lauded the Commission for its cooperation in the UK’s effort to tackle illegal migration.
He said he was in the country on official engagements but could not let the opportunity pass “without coming here to say Thank you because we couldn’t operate effectively without you.”
In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of ICPC, Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar, pledged the Commission’s willingness to continue to partner with the British High Commission.
He also expressed gratitude to the visitors for the assistance ICPC had enjoyed over the years from the British High Commission which included, the renovation of its Lagos State office; donation of an operational vehicle; and the training of its officers in the areas of handling of suspects in custody, and forensic computing.
Mrs. Rasheedat A. Okoduwa, mni
Spokesperson for the Commission