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Anambra traders risk jail over alleged revenue diversion

By Pamela Eboh, Awka on 10/07/2018

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•Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano
•Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano

Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Christian Madubuko, on Monday, decried the situation where state government is losing revenue worth billions of naira due to corrupt practices by market leaders.

The commissioner, who spoke during a meeting with leaders of the Bridge Head market, Onitsha threatened to send to jail, market leaders who divert revenues collected in the various markets in the state.

He reeled out the offences of the market leaders to include printing of many fake receipts with which they use to defraud government.

Madubuko said that while people were made to pay the stipulated levies, they never knew they were issued fake receipts in most cases.

In the course of the meeting, the commissioner came face to face with allegations and counter allegations over the manner government revenue was ending up in private pockets.

For instance, hundreds of shops were being constructed daily in various places in Onitsha, but in most cases, the market leaders collect revenue from them without paying to government coffers.

The commissioner said: “I called this meeting because, since I assumed office, there had been series of allegations against the president general of the Head Bridge Market, Mr. Sunday Obinze. Some of the traders even wrote petitions, while some came personally to the ministry to complain.

“The annoying aspect of the situation was that the said chairman boasted that nothing would happen to him because he had paid his way through with N20 million gratification.

“We are looking for huge sums of money and we must get it. First of all, I want all line chairmen to give us full evidence of where the monies are, from 2015 to date, otherwise some people will go to jail.

“I want all the photocopies of tickets issued to people. I have proof that illegal tickets are circulating in the markets and this is a big financial sabotage.”

Meanwhile, some of the traders had accused their chairman of printing over 10 types of illegal receipts, which were being used to collect revenue without remitting same to government.

While calling on the state government to ban the use of receipts issued in the markets because they were fake, they accused the chairman of diverting the N10 million released to the traders for project execution in the market, adding that the N5 million realised during revenue drive in the market was not paid to government.

In an effort to curb the menace, the state government said it would introduce Close Circuit Television, CCTV, in all the markets, starting with the Onitsha Main Market as a way of reducing crime in the markets.

Though the project was started two years ago, but stopped following disagreement between the traders and government, the state government said weekend that there was a need to have it in place as is practised in developed countries.

Source News Express

Posted 10/07/2018 1:16:18 PM





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