BY ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA — Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State has suspended indefinitely two commissioners for allegedly flouting government’s directive against double taxation and extortion of money from people of the state.
The commissioners are Chief Chisom Nwamuo, Commerce and Industry, and Mr. Ikechukwu Emesiombum, Transport.
The governor also directed the sealing off of the premises of Aba area office of the Ministry of Works, which was being used for extortion in the commercial town in the name of illegal revenue collection.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Eze Chikamnayo, explained that Governor Orji frowned at double taxation, extortion and harassment of innocent citizens in the name of collection of illegal revenue.
According to him, the ” state government is currently harmonising taxes payable in the state” and will soon come out with its position.
He said that for now, only the state Board of Internal Revenue was allowed to collect revenue for the state.
It has been an ugly practice to see scores of illegal revenue collectors going from office to office to distribute demand notices for all manner of illegal revenues which usually end up in pockets of unscrupulous individuals.
Some of the illegal revenue collectors, perhaps, in connivance with some commissioners, are often seen harassing and intimidating motorists, even strangers, jumping into their vehicles like criminals and extorting money from them.
The government had warned several times against the acts, but because the illegal revenue agents had the tacit support of some commissioners and other unscrupulous government officials, they kept on with the extortion.
Last week, Governor Orji directed the suspension of all unapproved revenue collections until the on-going harmonisation of taxes payable in the state was completed.