While the corruption searchlight has been beamed on the nation’s political players, corporate organizations especially the Tokunbo Abiru led Polaris Bank (formerly Skye Bank Plc) being a kingpin in the corporate fraud cartel, have cashed in on this charade to blindly suppress and defraud Nasarawa State of its IGR for years running into Millions of Naira.
This systemic fraudulent practice carried out by then Skye bank (now Polaris bank) surfaced after an exhaustive forensic audit done by a Lagos-based Forensic Accounting Consultancy firm engaged by the Nasarawa State Board of Internal Revenue to improve the state’s Internally-Generated-Revenue (IGR) base of excess bank charges, high network individuals, withholding tax on dividends, interest, and deposits against banks operating in the State from 29th May 1999 to December 2017.
After perusing through the records of the Nasarawa State Board of Internal Revenue to assess the state’s IGR performance and the bank’s compliance in tax remittance for the period under review, it was garnered that the bank under the management of Mr Tokunbo Abiru brazenly defrauded Nasarawa State government of a whopping N131,302,177 (One Hundred and Thirty-one Million, Three Hundred and Two Thousand, One Hundred and Seven Naira) in unremitted 10% Withholding Tax on Credit Interest monies, Pay As You Earn among others.
It was further revealed by sources that the fraud which has continued for years with immunity have had a smooth sail as the bank known for its lobbying prowess successfully greased the palms of the ‘Ogas at the top’ in the state’s board.
As though assaulting the Northern front, another audit carried out by the Niger State Board of Internal Revenue to ascertain the level of tax compliance of banks in the state from 29th May 1999 to 31st August 2017 showed that Skye Bank Plc (now Polaris Bank) also diverted a jaw-dropping N789,653,459 (Seven Hundred and Eighty-Nine Million Six Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty-Nine Naira) belonging to the Niger State government to its treasury.
The bank’s corrupt practice which seems to have cut across its management and staff despite having a mantra for being trustworthy is also evident in the case of the bank’s former chairman, Tunde Ayeni and the Managing Director, Timothy Oguntayo who have been slammed with a 10 count charge by the EFFC for laundering over N21 Billion.