Like President Muhammadu Buhari who in 2016 allegedly plagiarises former US President Barack Obama speech while launching his ‘Change Begins with Me’ campaign, Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa has sent a plagiarized copy of the ‘Lagos State Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law’ as his own executive bill to the State House of Assembly for prompt passage into law.
HardReporters recalled that the Lagos State Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law No 30, Vol. 42, was enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly and signed into law by governor
Babatunde Raji Fashola on June 22, 2009.
The law imposes tax on goods and services consumed in Hotels, Facility or Event Centers within the territory of Lagos State. It also imposes on any person, Corporate or otherwise who pays for the use or possession of any hotel, facility or event centre; or purchases of consumable goods or service in any restaurant whether or not located within a hotel in Lagos State.
Governor Okowa in a letter dated May 12, 2017 with the caption, “A Bill To Provide For A Law To Impose And Collect Through Electronic Fiscal Device Or Electronic Cash Register Consumption Tax On Goods And Services Brought And Consumed In Hotels, Restaurants, Departmental Stores And Entertainment Centers Within The Territory Of Delta State,” was addressed to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
The letter which was obtained by HardReporters National Assembly correspondent, actually shows that the Delta state governor has committed plagiarism by lifting some portions of the Lagos State Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law’ and inserted same into his own bill sent to the state legislature for a speedy passage.
In the Governor Okowa’s bill, below were some of the words the governor copied word to word and lifted from the 2009 Lagos State Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law which he inserted into his Delta State Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law sent to the Delta state House of Assembly.
“Imperative that the state continues to look inwards and take advantage of available strategic potentials to generate revenue. The amount to which this tax applies shall be the total cost of the facilities, consumable or personal services supplied to a consumer in, by or on behalf of the hotel, restaurant, department store, supermarket and event centre.
“Any hotel, restaurant, departmental store, or other business affected by this law shall within 30 days of the commencement of law. Every collecting agent shall register and collect a certified electronic fiscal device or electronic cash register to be used for the collection and recording of payment. Hotel, hotel facility or event centres, the rate of tax imposed by this law shall be five percent (5%) of the total bill issued to the consumer, excluding value added tax.
“May enter without warrant, any premises on which he reasonably believes that a person is carrying on business in order to ascertained whether this law is being complied with by the occupiers of the premises or any other person establishment offering chargeable goods and services for the purpose of verifying facts necessary to determine the amount due and payable to the government under this law.
“Where a collecting agent fails to make return or remittance as required by the provisions of this law or where his returns are not substantiated by records, the service may make an estimate of the total amount of tax due and may order him in writing to pay the estimated amount to the state government within 21 days of the date of service of the order.
“Any Director, Manager, Officer, Agent or Employee of the collecting agent who fails to comply with the provision of this law, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a penalty of 6 months imprisonment or a fine of two million naira (2,000, 000. 00) or both.”
“Any person aggrieved by any assessment made by the service under this law shall within (7) days of being notified of such decision write to the chairman or other designated officer of the service requesting the service to review, amend or reverse the assessment. Upon the receipt of such notice, as mentioned in subsection (1) of this section, the service may reconsider, affirm, or amend its assessment and notify the complainant of its decision. Where upon a review, the service serves on the complainant a notice of refusal to amend, a complainant who is dissatisfied by the refusal may institute an action at the High Court of Delta state.” among others.
Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent on the expediency of the bill, one of the lawmakers who pleaded for anonymity alleged that governor Okowa gratified some few lawmaker to speedy up the passage of the plagiarised bill.
“The governor gave a matching order after gratifying some ranking lawmakers in the House on the need for the quick passage of the bill. In line with this, the bill was promptly debated on the floor of the House on Wednesday by the majority leader of the house, Mr. Tim Owhefere while the Speaker, Mr. Sheriff Oborevwori, immediately setup a committee for the bill to be heard and promptly passed in seven days despite the fact that we have other pressing bills like the anti-grazing bill, consumer protection bill, environmental management bill and other important bills which would be of benefit to Deltans.” the lawmaker said.