Controversy Trails Tunde Fowler’s Last Minute Promotions at LIRS


Imagine being promoted and demoted all within ten days. Well, that was the recent fate of eight senior staff of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, LIRS.
Documents made available to this publication showed that the eight affected senior staff were promoted on August 21, 2015 and ordered to return to their old positions by August 31, 2015.
So what went wrong? UNTOLD investigations reveal that the affected staff, six of which were promoted to the position of Assistant Director and the remaining two, Revenue Manager, were ordered to revert to their previous positions by Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos State governor.
UNTOLD sources at the LIRS say the governor ordered a reversal of the promotion exercise on the grounds that it was deemed to have been illegal.
The governor was said to have been forced to act after some staff of the agency privately protested to his hearing.
Those who were unhappy with the promotion exercise say the alleged illegality stems from the fact that it was ordered by Babatunde Fowler, the immediate past chairman of the LIRS who is now acting Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
Fowler, UNTOLD sources insist, unilaterally ordered the promotion of the affected staff who were said to have been his favourites, after he had been appointed, acting Chairman of the FIRS by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Some of the aggrieved staff who spoke with UNTOLD on the condition of anonymity alleged that Fowler while he held sway at the agency was in the habit of promoting those they described as his lackeys without making them go through the promotion exercise which other staff have to pass before they could be promoted. Such backdoor promotions were usually said to have been attributed to the performance of the affected staff.
Curiously, Fowler’s appointment as FIRS acting Chairman which was with immediate effect, was announced by the Presidency on August 20, while the memo promoting the eight affected staff of the LIRS was signed by the same Fowler on August 21.
But UNTOLD sources at the LIRS say the issues are even beyond that. They insisted that the promotion memo, a copy of which was made available to this publication, was only dated August 21 but was actually issued on August 28 and backdated. UNTOLD has no means of corroborating such claims.
Meanwhile, Faramade Ogunsanya, Director of Finance and Administration, DFA at the LIRS who is now the acting chairman of the agency said there is no truth whatsoever in the claims that the promotion memo was backdated by Fowler.
Ogunsanya, in a chat with UNTOLD, insisted that he was not in the position to confirm claims that the controversial promotion exercise was ordered to be reversed by Ambode.
He also insisted on not giving any specific reason why the promotion was reversed within just 10 days adding that “it was simply an administrative decision.”
Ogunsanya denied claims that it was illegal for Fowler to have ordered the promotion of the affected staff after the announcement of his appointment as acting chairman of the FIRS by President Buhari.
“Yes he signed the document on August 21 but you must know that he didn’t take up the appointment at the FIRS until August 24,” Ogunsanya said.
While the arguments over the proprietary or otherwise of the date the promotion document was signed may rage on, the eight affected staff, some of whom UNTOLD sources say, “actually deserved the promotion, have been left to rue their sudden reversal of fortunes.
A memo dated August 31 and signed by Ogunsanya simply told them to “note that the promotion exercise dated 21st August 2015 is hereby reversed immediately.”
It added that, “affected staff should therefore revert to their initial designations as the promotions are no longer effective.”