EFCC scores Gombe IRS low in transparency, accountability

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Northeast Zonal Office, Gombe, has decried alleged financial recklessness at the Gombe Board of Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

It described it as lacking in proper supervision and monitoring process of operation.

EFCC, in a paper presented at a one- day workshop by the state government on Treasury Single Account (TSA), by Salisu Bala Abubakar, confirmed the opening of multiple accounts by Gombe IRS, which Governor Inuwa Yahaya had raised alarm about.

The paper said: “While in the course of our interactions with executive officials, staff members and other consultants of the board, the following observations were noted; multiple collection accounts, lack of proper supervision and monitoring processes of operations.

“Books of accounts are not properly kept as mandated by law. There is failure to follow proper rules and guidelines in mode of operations.

“There is connivance between the officials of the board and collecting agents in siphoning public funds, lack of capacity building among officials of the board, selfish interest/get rich syndrome and poor remuneration package.”

Governor Yahaya had announced the discovery of 2,292 accounts linked to the government and N1.48billion lying dormant in 860 accounts, saying with the current situation on ground, the state should either embark on reform or perish.

He added: “Two thousand two hundred and ninety-two accounts linked to the state government were captured by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System PLC (NIBSS) and additional 265 hidden accounts were discovered. The sum of N1.48 billion was discovered from 860 accounts that were hitherto dormant or undisclosed. Five hundred and eighty-six dormant accounts were closed after generating their annual account statements for proper reconciliation and documentation. This shows the enormity of the financial indiscipline and opacity inherited by our administration.

“In order to further foster efficient management of cash resources, I also approved the Cash Management Strategy. This will help enhance budget performance by preventing costly budget overruns that negatively affect the implementation of our Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Our administration does not see budget as mere figures, but as a tool of governance where expenditure must be carefully planned and backed by revenue, allowing us to meet our budget expectations.

“There will be no development without the requisite resources to help implement our development agenda. This is why our administration is focused on mobilising resources to finance the execution of projects and programmes that will impact positively on the lives of our people. The implementation of the Treasury Single Account is the first step towards achieving this.

“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to devastating economic consequences globally. To navigate this, states must develop innovative ways of saving cost, improving efficiencies and eliminating wastage. This requires the highest level of competence and professionalism from our accounting officers. It is my hope that this workshop will arm you with the required skills and strategies to ensure prudent and transparent management of state resources.”

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