Ebonyi state Governor, Chief Dave Umahi Friday suspended indefinitely his Special Adviser on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Chief Jeremiah Oketa for taking actions beyond the authorities and command of his office.
Though details of why Oketa was suspended was not disclosed by the government, The Nation learnt that he was suspended for creating a separate bank account for payment of IGR without the consent of the state government.
Oketa was said to have aligned with a company given the contract to enumerate all the buildings in the state for tax payment and created separate bank account where the taxes will be paid without the knowledge of the government whereas the government had already created its own account for the purpose.
Angered by the development, the government wielded the big stick and suspended Oketa indefinitely.
Announcing the suspension at a press briefing on the decision of the state government on the matter and the outcome of the executive council meeting, the state Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Sen. Emmanuel Onwe said Oketa had already been stopped from collecting IGR for the state.
He announced that Commissioners have been banned from collecting IGR for the state, adding that only Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) is charged with the responsibility of collecting Internally Generated Revenue.
He said the decision was to allow the Commissioners to concentrate on their jobs for optimal performance. ENDS
The commissioner said, “The Special Adviser on IGR ,Chief J.O.J Oketa, has been suspended indefinitely for going beyond the authority and command of his office.
“Special Advisers and commissioners are no longer authorised to collect taxes or revenue of any kind. The Only legal body now authorised by council to collect revenue is the Ebonyi Board of Internal Revenue or any agent that the board may legitimately engage to do so.
“All payments of all kind of revenue should be done in the way it goes directly into the account of government.”
He explained that the Executive Council received presentations from companies on enumeration and collection of taxes and revenues for government without imposing hardship on Ebonyians.