Fraud: EFCC Begins Recovery of N1.6bn Illegal DTA Payment From FIRS Staff
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun the recovery of over N2.1 billion from 40 staff who agreed to return the illicit Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) paid into their accounts by the management of the FIRS allegedly siphoned from the agency between 2017 and 2018.
EFCC agents are recovering large sums of money from both the junior and middle-level staff involved in the scam, sources familiar with the investigation revealed.
It was learnt the EFCC initially discovered that over N2.1 billion was paid as DTA in the salary accounts of forty staff.
According to a fact-sheet obtained yesterday, the EFCC is “investigating alleged inflation of Duty Tour Allowances, humongous payments to staff, diversion of funds and outright stealing of public funds”.
The document said “There was information that some senior management staff were using some middle and junior cadre of the service to siphon funds from the accounts of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in the guise of travelling allowances.
“For the records, the fraudulent practices were perpetrated between 2017 and 2018. Initially, the accounts of the staff were scrutinised and over N2.1billion was discovered to have been paid to them by the FIRS.
“However, a proper scrutiny was carried out. During investigation, their normal salaries, DTA were deducted and finally what was illegally paid to these staff was N1.6billion.
It was said that a substantial amount is already being recovered from the forty staff in this batch after their arrest and interrogation. About twenty of them were detained but all are now on administrative bail.
A source said the EFCC seized all their passports, after committing them to pay back what they illegally received within a time frame.
It was learnt yesterday that all the people involved in the deal have been grilled but explained that only 20 of the 40 suspects were detained and later granted bail . Among those undergoing interrogation , he said is the Director of Finance of FIRS, Mohammed Auta.
The anti-graft agency may arrest the Director FIRS support services group Peter Hena who approved and authorized the payments and the main beneficiary of the scam.
Sources said Hena, who was supposed to have returned to Abuja on 6 April, sent in his resignation letter, has also claimed to be sick and in need of medical attention abroad.
As Coordinating Director, he has supervisory oversight over the Human Capital Management and Development, Finance and Accounts, Revenue Accounting, Facility, Security and Safety Management and Procurement Departments.
It was learnt he authorized the payments despite being on N2 million approval limit.
It was alleged that Hena authorizes several N1.9 million payments to a particular account in one day, which makes up the huge figures received by some staff.
It was learnt some of the staff received varying amounts as DTA within the period being investigated from 2017 to date and did not travel.
A source said amounts ranging from N50 million, N40 million, N101 million and N55 million were found to have been paid into the accounts of the staff.
It was also learnt that EFCC may look into the award of contracts and adherence to procurement processes in the FIRS.
The source said the amount the staff siphoned using the DTA range from N101million, N97million, N75million,N89m, N65million,N50million to N42million per individual staff between 2017 and 2018. He insisted that public servant could earn over N100million legitimately through DTA within a year or two .