By Our Reporter
The Executive Director (Operations & Other Taxes), Anambra Internal Revenue Service, Christian C. Madubuko, PhD has reacted to a petition written against him by two AIRS staff recently arrested for fraudulent and dishonest conduct in carrying out their official obligations.
Citypost learnt that the duo of Francis Ezenwa and Chika Ofomata had petitioned Dr Madubuko over what they described as unlawful arrest, but the Executive Director Operations of the AIRS has reacted by availing the public of documented information with facts presented below as ANNEXURES “A” and “B”
Below is a release containing the response and clarifications of Executive Director Operations AIRS Anambra State, Dr Christian Madubuko which according to him was predicated on the fallacious stories about the development making the rounds on social media;
RE: PETITION TO DEPARTMENT OF STATE SECURITY (DSS), HEAD OF SERVICE, ANAMBRA STATE, ACTING CHAIRMAN, ANAMBRA STATE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (AiRS) ETC. FOR ALLEGED WRONGFUL AND UNLAWFUL ARREST OF FRAUDULENT AND DISHONEST STAFF OF AIRS – FRANCIS T. EZENWA OF BACK DUTY/WHT DEPARTMENT AND HERBERT CHIKA OFOMATA OF DIRECT ASSESSMENT DEPARTMENT (AiRS), AWKA: THE NEED TO KEEP THE RECORDS STRAIGHT.
My attention has been drawn to the counter petitions in respect of the above subject matter written to various authorities against me and posted in different social media, by the above named fraudulent and dishonest staff of AiRS and their collaborators who are still in and out of government.
Ordinarily, I shouldn’t have responded to them but for sake of clarity, I wish to state as follows so that the general public whom they have been feeding with bunch of lies read my own side of the story;
The petition I wrote to the State Director, Department of State Security (DSS), Awka, in respect of diversion of State Government revenue, insubordination and economic sabotage of the State by the above named fraudulent and dishonest staff of AiRS, and their cohorts who are in and out of government, dated July 10, 2023, refers.
The petition centered amongst others on the unauthorized compromise/waiver of judgment debt of millions of Naira the State Government got against two taxpayers – Unity Bank PLC, in respect of the Revised Tax Audit Demand Notice for outstanding tax liabilities for the period of January 2015 – December 2016 and HPZ Limited, in respect of Demand Notice for outstanding tax liabilities for the period of January 2012 – December 2017, through a letter to the Managing Director of Unity Bank PLC, referenced AIRS/BDWHT/CORR/2291/001, dated 2/9/2022, signed by fraudulent and dishonest Francis T. Ezenwa of Back Duty/WHT Department, on behalf of the immediate past Chairman/Chief Executive of AiRS and another letter to the Managing Director, HPZ Limited, referenced AIRS/BDWHT/ CORR/2291/ 002, dated 21/9/2022, signed by fraudulent and dishonest Herbert Chika Ofomata of Direct Assessments, on behalf of the said Chairman/Chief Executive. Copies of the said letters are hereby attached and marked ANNEXURES “A” and “B” respectively, for ease of reference.
It is very clear that in ANNEXURE “A” Francis T. Ezenwa, contrary to what he stated in his petitions, claimed that he has the directive of the Executive Management of AiRS to confirm from Unity Bank PLC as follows:
i) Upon payment of the final undisputed outstanding liabilities of N5, 137, 292.70 into the State Government IGR PayDirect account code 20008001– 12010039 (BackDuty – PAYE); and
ii) Provision of the computation/details of the aggregate undisputed sum, N5, 137, 929.70 to the AiRS that the Bank’s business branches in Anambra State would be unsealed and tax audit conclusively closed. He further stressed that they have approved also that the Withholding Tax aspect thereof, (of a concluded judgment debt) be subsumed into the ongoing WHT BackDuty Audit Investigation for 2008 – 2018. What kind of professional tax man is Francis T. Ezenwa who ought to know better and advise the immediate past Chairman/Chief Executive better in respect of this matter, if not for the financial gain he and his cohorts got in the matter to the detriment of the State? Yet he is claiming to be clean and has the interest of the State at heart in the matter. Who is now fooling who?
However, it is on record that Francis T. Ezenwa up till now could not: –
a) Mention the names of those particularly from the Service (AiRS), who attended the purported Emergency Reconciliation Meeting of August 16 – 17, 2022.
b) To mention the names of the members of the Executive Management of AiRS that purportedly gave him the unlawful directive to confirm from the bank as stated above.
c) Could not provide attendance sheet and properly signed minutes of the meetings
d) Could not give explanation why Herbert Chika Ofomata of Direct Assessments signed ANNEXURE “B”, which is a letter from Back Duty/WHT Department, if not for financial consideration. It is also very clear that in ANNEXURE “B” Herbert Chika Ofomata, who claims to be a professional contrary to what he stated in his petitions, claimed that he has the directive of the Executive Management of AiRS to confirm from HPZ Limited as follows:
i) That upon payment of 30% of the total audit/judgment liabilities of N145, 112, 791.00 (ie N43, 533, 837.30) into the State Government’s IGR PayDirect account code 20008001 – 12010040 (BackDuty – WHT), that the organization’s business depot in Anambra State would be unsealed.
ii) The further reconciliation with you would commence immediately, and the eventual revised liability position set off against the payment in (i) above, or non-liability credited to the organization.
It is also on record that Herbert Chika Ofomata up till now could not: –
a) Mention the names of those particularly from the Service (AiRS) that attended the purported Emergency Post-distrain, physical Reconciliation Meeting of 21/9/2022.
b) To mention the names of the members of the Executive Management of AiRS that purportedly gave him the unlawful directive to confirm from the company as stated in ANNEXURE “B” above.
c) Could not provide attendance sheet and properly signed minutes of the meetings
d) could not give explanation why he of Direct Assessments signed ANNEXURE “B”, which is letter from Back Duty/WHT Department, which ought to have been signed by Francis T. Ezenwa, if not that they are brothers in crime and financial consideration that accrued to him.
I am aware that the onus is on me to prove all the allegations against the said staff and their cohorts, who have been implicated in this matter without fear or favour, as the investigations are still ongoing and have not been concluded. Ezenwa and Ofomata have not been exonerated in any way of all the allegations against them in this matter, but it now appears with their various petitions that they want to be the prosecutor and judge at the same time in their own matter. I hereby advise them and their cohorts to exercise patience and wait for the investigation report, if it is in their favor before they make their claims and ask for my sack.
I reliably gathered that the said staff with their cohorts in and out of Government have now raised Demand Notices against the said taxpayers in respect of the amount of money they diverted into their private pockets. What a welcome development and prove of my allegations against them?
I encourage them to do so quickly even if it requires them contributing to the repayment of same. I know that from country to country all over the world, it is usual to set up a court system or judiciary to hear and peacefully settle disputes. The courts are the forum for the hearing, adjudication and reconciliation of legal rights and duties of parties and not the said fraudulent and dishonest staff and their cohorts.
It is an important institution of government for the maintenance of law and order in a country. They should be guided accordingly. However, for the courts to perform its duty of administration of justice, obedience to court rulings, judgments and orders of court by all persons and governments is necessary and that is the only way law, order and peace can be maintained.
But, in the circumstances, the said staff and their cohorts in and out of government conspired against the State in ANNEXURES “A” and “B”, and waived judgment debt without lawful authority, which made the State not to fully enjoy the fruits of their judgments against the said 2 taxpayers.
I am aware that an order of court must be obeyed, even if such an order is perversed until such a time that the order is set aside by a competent court. In this matter, the position is that the 2 staff of AiRS and their cohorts flagrantly flouted the judgments in favor of the State and waived judgment debt to the detriment of the State. What a crime? They cannot use their various petitions against me that are based on suppression of facts to turn white into black in this matter as usual and cover up their fraudulent activities with that of their cohorts, as a ploy to stop their investigations by law enforcement agencies.
Thank God that they have made their written statements in the DSS. The veil those already implicated in this matter will soon be lifted. I would liken the said fraudulent staff and their cohorts to sinners who pray God to assist them in the commission of sins. Just as God will not listen to such supplication, the State will not grant such a prayer too because if the remedies that the courts granted to correct wrongs can be ignored by them, then there will be nothing left for us, but to take the law into our own hands.
Loss of respect for the court by the said staff and their cohorts will quickly result in the destruction of our society. God forbid! As the two staff and their cohorts have committed offences against the State, they will in due time be compelled to attend court by arrest. I am aware that an arrest is a restriction which is lawful on an individual’s right to liberty as contained in Section 35 (1) (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, may be with or without warrant.
However, the offences alleged to have been committed by the staff did not state that they cannot be arrested except with a warrant of arrest. I also know that as a private person that I have power to arrest without warrant of arrest in the following situations: –
a) If a person in my view commits an indictable offence.
b) If I reasonably suspect a person to have committed a felony.
c) If I reasonably suspect a person have committed a misdemeanor by night. I am also aware that the power of a private person to effect an arrest without warrant received judicial approval in the case of NWEKE V THE STATE (1965) 1 ALL NLR 114 – where the Supreme court held that a private person may arrest where he reasonably suspects somebody of having committed a felony, as is in the instant case. It is pertinent to point out that the various petitions written by the said dishonest staff with their cohorts did not alleged that when they were arrested, they were handcuffed or subjected to unnecessary restraint in anyway. Instead they were accorded all necessary humane treatments upon their arrest, having regard to their rights to dignity of their persons and taken to the DSS with the operational vehicle (Black Maria) of the Service assigned for such purpose.
They were not subjected to any form of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.They were not arbitrarily arrested, or arrested on allegation that borders on civil breach of contract, but their arrest was based on reasonable suspicion that they committed or about to commit further criminal activities punishable as offences under the law. Upon their arrest they were without a warrant, they were without unreasonable delay, handed over to the Officers of DSS for thorough and discreet investigations of the matter and therefore, they were given fair hearing also known as principle of natural justice at all times material to this case. Therefore, I do not know what they are complaining about in their unripe petitions because they were given opportunity to be heard though they refused and neglected to answer many questions put to them, for no just cause. When they were first arrested, Herbert Chika Ofomata denied having signed the letter marked ANNEXURE B and claimed it was a forgery. He changed his position on this when Francis T. Ezenwa reminded him that he signed the letter and went further to produce the files from his office.
At DSS, he further mentioned that Francis Ezenwa wrote the letter and he signed. I am wondering the complicity that led him to leave his Direct Assessment Department to go and signed a letter in Backduty/Withholding Tax Department.
On the whole, the said staff should know that they are not above the law irrespective of those that are backing them up and covering-up their fraudulent activities before now. They should be told, if they don’t already know that a new Sheriff is in town. It is no longer business as usual.
Francis T. Ezenwa and Herbert Chika Ofomata should be reminded that a destructive change is always accompanied by a hurricane that blows off anyone that stands on its way. Collectively, our IGR MUST grow and Governor Soludo must succeed.
This is just for the records, he said.