By Ndubuisi FrancisÂ in Abuja
No fewer than 14 whistleblowers were paid N439.276 million this week after they provided the tips which culminated in tax evaders paying the sum of N13.8 billion to the federal government.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who revealed this in AbujaÂ FridayÂ while briefing journalists,Â said the tax evaders were largely corporate organisations.
According to her, since the commencement of the Whistleblower Policy in December 2016, 8,373 communications had been received of which 1,231 were actually tips, adding that 534 investigations were conducted with 10 prosecutions and four convictions.
Â â€œThe Whistleblower Policy started December 2016. Since then, we have had 8, 373 communications of which 1, 231 were actually tips. â€œWe have conducted 534 investigations; 10 prosecutions and four convictions.
â€œThis week, we paid whistleblowers the sum of N439. 276 million. It was to 14 people who provided specific tips on tax evasions about companies who deliberately evaded or under-paid taxes. Working on those tips, we have held discussions with those companies and they have paid N13. 8 billion which we have confirmed have been paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
â€œUnder the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), we are getting far more tips on tax evasions, which of course is a crime against us all and this is a new trend that we thought is worth bringing to your attention. So these people are being paid this month.
â€œThis is the first time we are having that number where we have concluded either communications with companies and the companies have actually paid the money to FIRS,â€ Adesoun said.
On the battle against ghost workers, the minister said that there were still some irregularities in the payroll but that her team was paying closer attention to details in the IPPIS to eliminate them.
She said, â€œFor instance we are investigating some cases where name on the payroll is different from the name on the bank account.
â€œWe are looking at that.Â In some cases, it is as simple as some people got married and did not update their names but in other cases, it is a matter of fraud. This is just to give you an idea of how detailed we go and we keep checking the payroll on a regular basis.â€
Â Adesoun equally stated that over 100 properties belonging to Nigeriaâ€™s foreign missions and federal government agencies which were not captured in an earlier audit were found.
â€œTeams visited foreign missions and discovered that foreign missions and some government agencies had over 100 properties that were not recorded.Â Some abandoned.Â And some people trying to sell them off and we have to stop them,â€ she said.
On the performance of the 2017 Budget, she expressed optimism that at the end of the month, about N1. 5 trillion would have been spent on capital projects.