Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji has accused his commissioners and Permanent Secretaries of stealing state funds and vowed to prosecute any of them caught.
The governor stated this when he met with some commissioners and permanent secretaries over the dwindling internally generated revenue of the state.
.Orji accused them of pocketing all the revenue generated instead of remitting the funds to the state account.
The governor directed the commissioners to immediately close all their ministries’ accounts opened to deposit funds meant for the state government treasury and also directed them to disband all touts engaged as revenue collectors.
He lamented the dwindling Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, and the state’s over dependence on the federation allocation revenue for the development of the state.
Orji alleged that the commissioners have turned Ariaria International market into their revenue collecting place, inflicting pains on traders in the market with multiple taxations and levies, instead of looking into the various industries scattered in Aba and other parts of the state including private institutions.
247Ureports gathered that traders in the market have lamented the indiscriminate collection of various forms of levies from them by agencies of the state and local governments.
“We pay all sorts of levies, ASEPA levy, Sanitation levy, Business premises, infrastructure levy, security levy, market toll and rent for our shops. It has been difficult doing business here. Even the efforts we made to contribute money to rehabilitate internal roads in the market attracted charges. This put paid to the effort, a trader in A Line area of the market who pleaded anonymity hinted.
Sources insist that the governor is crying wolf as his son and wife have been in charge of the market since he came to power.” He has turned the commissioners as scapegoat,” they added.
Recall that the state has not paid salaries since May 2012. Last week, Council workers went on a warning strike over the delay in the payment of their salaries, but the governor accused the council officials of being responsible for the delay, an allegation which was later found to be untrue.
“His promise of settling the arrears of salaries before the first day of August may not be kept as nothing has happened since the strike was called off,” a council worker said.
Orji had while meeting with the commissioner said “Last month we received the sum of N3.4 billion and last night I was with the Accountant-General and the Finance Commissioner trying how to share the money and pay salaries with the wage bill of the state being N2.5 billion, how do we survive.
Where do you expect me to generate that amount of money to make and pay salaries, when you and the civil servants are busy siphoning money meant for the state into your private pockets?