Benue Tax Boss and his Limbo: Behind the Scene

Posted: December 17, 2012 in BENUE, political, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Mr. Andrew Ayabam, Benue’s chief tax collector, before his appearance
on the public scene little or nothing was known of this tax expert and
banker par excellence until he was contracted to man the erstwhile
obsolete non-performing Benue state Board of internal Revenue now
christened Benue Internal Revenue service (BIRS), owing to his tall
records in the banking industry and tax matters.
Ayabam’s injection into the financial life of Benue state and his
short sojourn as it now seems at the tax pot of the state has gone
well into the annals of history as the state tax situation has risen
from non-performing to vibrant. It is common knowledge that with his
advent BIRS was not just a tax collecting office churning in revenue
for the state but also one of the biggest employers of labour with
over a thousand graduate youth from all walks of life employed by the
service.
Within months of taking over the BIRS he totally rebranded the tax
outfit from the bureaucratic Board of Internal revenue to an active
BIRS with more efficiency and having a major increase in tax returns
from the obsolete figures the state earlier recorded to a whooping one
billion monthly. The state is awash with projects courtesy tax
profits.
With his appearance on the financial scene came his rising profile
which has also earned him political influence in his local government
of Ushongo and the state at large. With personal projects like roads,
schools and hospital construction and renovations Ayabam is an obvious
darling of the local folks alike. He thus wields a great amount of
influence on the folks back in Ushongo as he does in his financial
world.
Unfortunately as his influence and success grows so has his rise and
fame courted the humble looking young man an array of problems and
adversaries who have led to the dangling fate he now suffers. atiterkula in this piece concentrates on his ignoble leave which now tends
to be his last performance on this stage, bringing you exclusive
behind the scene plays that have brought this fate.
it is wide knowledge that Andy as popularly called has fought many
battles consequent upon his assent as BIRS chairman but the one of the
most remarkable of battles is the running one of political relevance
in his local government of Ushongo. Since his adent unto the scene,
Andy, as his is called by admirers has become a rallying point for
people and politicians both from the ruling party and opposition
blocs, in the local government. This feat he has achieved due to his
people oriented projects in the locality such as schools and hospital
construction.
It is believed that this rising influence was not a problem until the
constitution of the immediate past transition Local Government
committees, where Ayabam’s choice was chosen above those of other
political heavyweights in the state, among whom was a very close ally
of Suswam and up till then the number one decision maker of the local
government . This politician sources have informed has been irked into
joining forces with others in the state that have problems with
Ayabam, to ensure his removal.
Others allege that the BIRS boss’ problem can not be unconnected to
his refusal to pay allegiance to the state commissioner of finance,
Mr. Omandachi Oklobia, under whose ministry the board answers.
According to sources the commissioner had variously requested for
Andy’s audience to clear issues concerning the establishment but
instead he was turned down as Andy preferred to report directly to the
government house as it has been discovered.
Most touted to be his albatross is Ayabam’s fleet of investments in
the state. It is rumored that because of his growing investments in
the state in the hospitality sector, owning restaurant, fast-food
joint and a bottled water producing factory, Ayabam has dared the
elites in the state who believe it to be a slight on their
sensibilities as he has flaunted wealth before them thus provoking a
move to remove him from BIRS which they perceive to be the seasoned
entrepreneur’s honey comb.
It has now widely been speculated that this famous leave of his maybe
a systematic way of showing him the way out honorably,proponents of
this rumour have it that the tax master was alleged to be invoved in
some form of financial mismanagement, this is even as the Benue state
Governor, Gabriel Suswam, has variously denied relieving Ayabam of his
engagement, informing that he has done none of that but had only
granted a request from Ayabam for a leave and further explaining
reasons for why the leave has lasted this long.
“ … He is on leave but there are so many speculations about whether he
is sacked or he is on leave but he gave a letter that he wanted to go
on leave, so he is on leave. But you know that the revenue board has
recently been constituted which you know there was no board. There was
not supposed to be a technical committee but a board. All of that we
are in the process of doing and when he comes back from leave, the
board would have been properly constituted and the technical committee
would have also been properly put in place. There is no cause for
alarm. But Benue state is not such that generate much revenue and in
reporting revenue, there are three components. You have the PAYE which
is captured as revenue because it is in and out. And when he (Ayabam)
was reporting that they were generating N1billion, it was not that
they were generating that from BIRS. About eighty percent of it was
PAYE. There was nothing like N1b that was generated. Like they said
certain amount of money is taken from salaries and it goes back into
payment of salaries. So when you are reporting what you generate as
revenue you capture that on the part of revenue and not on the part of
expenditure. I think most people understand that but they believed
that Benue was generating N1billion as revenue. The component of BIRS,
the component of PAYE and that which is generated within the ministry
of finance arising from contracts and their percentages. He informed.
With the Governor’s insistent stance on not showing Ayabam the exit,
the Tax expert’s fate now hangs in limbo as for several months now he
remains on this leave with a civil servant taking over as an acting
Chairman pending this constitution of the board and technical
committee.

ADMIN

Comments
  1. S.Gyoh says:

    This is a fairly good summary of the BIRS tale. But this ‘behind the scene’ account is only half the story and the bigger picture that sustain the ‘limbo’ referred is beyond the tensions of local government politics. Indeed the second part of the story may never be fully told as it runs between GHM, BIRS, the Finance ministry and the strongmen behind this triangle. Sadly, only one axis in this triangle has been subjected to shocks. Lets hope the State doesnt end up the big looser when it all plays out…

    Like

  2. Comrade Philip agbese says:

    Pls I have some questions to ask as to help u in coronating the man who is perceived to have slaughtered the poor tax payers in broad day light. At what time did Ayabam acquire all these choice hotels, restaurants and companies in his life? He constructed schools and hospitals in his locality, agreed sir, but would still like u to define the ownership if these are his properties or government properties? Also, we ur fans are interested and wish to know if provision of infrastructure are part of his mandate as the nicodemus of Benue state.

    Like

    • S.Gyoh says:

      I think it is right to query the speed and source of these personal investments and charitable projects by a public figure. These are valid questions only he can corroborate and answer. However, It is important to make a distinction where different issues present in an argument. The question about Andy’s investment is a different matter from the administrative and contractual intrigues raised in that article. To date, no constituted authority has made specific accusations of impropriety against Ayabam, but that does not foreclose he may indeed have to clear on some of these spectacular investments. If provision of infrastructure or award of contract is not in his remit, his employers should hold/have held him to account. We cant close our eyes to other ‘constituted’ actors in this drama else we unwittingly indict the government. of complacency, which may well be…

      But again, we have to be clear when we use plurals to describe some of these investments hospital’s’, restaurant’s,’ hotel’s’ etc how many are they and where are they located. Before you make up your mind open it, they say

      Like

    • atiterkula says:

      Agbese
      thanks for logging onto https://atiterkula.wordpress.com for reliable news from Benue state.
      your comments, criticism and suggestions are always encouraged to bring you better coverage.
      ADMIN

      Like

Let's know what you think of this post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s