CSOs call for Alpha Beta Probe Over Tax Evasion Allegation

A coalition of civil society organizations under the aegis of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin probe of the alleged N100 billion tax evasion and money laundering levelled against Alpha Beta Consulting Ltd., Alpha Beta LLP and Ocean Trust Ltd.

A former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the consulting firm,  Mr. Dapo Apara, had last month accused the company given exclusive rights to monitor and collect Internally Generated Revenue on behalf of the Lagos State Government, of tax fraud to the tune of N100 billion.

In a petition forwarded to the EFCC and signed by CSNAC’s Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, the network urged the anti-graft agency to immediately begin investigation into the allegation in furtherance of the government’s will in its call for citizens’ participation in governance and fight against corruption.

The group stated inter alia: “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”, it added.

Noting further that since Apara’s allegations were made public last month, the Lagos State Government has not made any comments or taken steps to investigate the issues raised, the civil society coalition pointed out that the state never denied claims that the company takes about 10 percent of the state’s IGR, estimated to be  about N40 billion monthly as at 2016.

The group stated further: “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”, CSNAC added.