Alleged N100bn tax evasion: 150 groups ask EFCC to probe Alpha Beta

Efcc
About 150 anti-corruption groups under the aegis of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption have asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to urgently investigate an alleged N100bn fraud, tax evasion and money laundering against Alpha Beta Consulting Ltd., Alpha Beta LLP and Ocean Trust Ltd.

Alpha Beta Consulting, a firm given exclusive rights to monitor and collect Internally Generated Revenue on behalf of the Lagos State Government, had in September been accused of tax fraud to the tune of N100bn by Mr Dapo Apara, its former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

However, in a petition forwarded to the EFCC and signed by CSNAC’s Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, the network urged the EFCC to act immediately, adding that the case was a test of the government’s will in its call for citizens’ participation in governance and fight against corruption.

The petition read in part, “Following the breaking news on Sahara Reporters dated September 7, 2018, and captioned ‘Tinubu’s Alpha Beta accused of N100bn money laundering, tax evasion fraud’, we write to urge you to use your good offices, in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Services, to dauntlessly and without fear or favour launch an urgent and immediate investigation into the allegations contained in the said report with a view to proving to the Nigerian populace that the current administration’s fight against corruption is transparent and executed without concerns about whose ox is gored.

“Speculations are that the company belongs to Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the ex-governor of Lagos State and ‘National Leader’ of the ruling party or that he is a major shareholder in the company, as Alpha Beta first became known when it was appointed as a consultant to the Lagos State Government, under the tenure of Babatunde Fowler as the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue from 2005 to 2014.”

CSNAC said since Apara’s allegations went viral in September, the Lagos State Government had failed to make any reaction.

It added that the state never denied claims that the company takes about 10 per cent of the internally generated revenue of Lagos, estimated in 2016 to be about N40bn every month.

The petition added, “Recall that we also wrote a petition to your office sometime in March, 2018,  with respect to the use of fishy companies to aid corruption by the ‘feudal lords’ in Lagos State by diverting public resources into private holdings.

“Mr Apara, according to the aforementioned publication, stated that over the years, the company is being protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable.”

Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, however, the EFCC Spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, asked the groups to be patient, adding that petitions took time to investigate.

He said, “The commission receives hundreds of petitions on a daily basis. Expectedly, screening and evaluation of these petitions take time. Petitioners who have faith in the EFCC must be patient to allow the commission to do its work.” (Punch)

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