The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has secured the conviction of a senior staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Mubo Ikotun and a company, Messrs. Smit Nigerian Limited for bribery and tax evasion .
The conviction of the two was pronounced by a Lagos State High Court presided over by Justice O.A. WiIIiams (Mrs.) in Charge No-LCD/17/2008/ FRN v John Fagbemi and 4 others.
Messrs. Smith Nigerian Limited was convicted for allegedly bribing Mrs. Mubo Ikotun (2nd Accused) and some other staff of FIRS to reduce its tax liability assessed at N13,938,985.00 to the sum of N441, 653.00 in fraudulent manner.
The Company, according to ICPC, got the tax relief through a fraudulent means and was issued a Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) upon paying the sum of N441,635.00 to the Federal Inland Revenue Services.
Mrs. Ikotun, a superior officer to Mr Fagbemi (1st Accused) also of FIRS was alleged to have used her office to solicit and receive a cash gratification of N2.5 million to grant the tax relief to the said Company. The court however acquitted and discharged Mr. Fagbemi.
The court also freed both Mrs. A. Temowo (3rd Accused) and Mr K.Oduneye (4th Accused) the consultants who negotiated the bribe on behalf of the company.
The company, Messrs. Smit Nigerian Limited was convicted for engaging in a conspiracy to effect the payment of the gratification and also for its failure to report the obtaining of the gratification.
According to ICPC’s testimony at the court the convict, Mrs. Ikotun of FIRS upon receiving the gratification proceeded to purchase a Skoda Octavia salon car which she had converted to personal use. She equally concealed the ownership of the car while declining to produce the said car to the officers of ICPC who made a request to that effect in the process of their investigation.
A charge sheet on the case read, “The conviction secured in the case of ICPC v Fagbemi, involves the solicitation & payment of gratification in the sum of N2,500,000 by Messrs Smit Nigeria Ltd (5th Accused) to two officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as inducement for them agreeing to effect the drastic reduction of its earlier assessed tax liability put at #13,938,905.61 in return for its payment of a paltry sum of #441,653.42 as its downwardly reduced reviewed tax liability & subsequent issuance of its tax Clearance Certificate”.
According to the ICPC Resident Consultant on Media and Events, Folu Olamiti, petition detailing the tax evasion scam was submitted 2006 to the ICPC
The court however, adjourned the imposition of sentences on both convicted accused persons to November 4 this year.