Gov. Okowa Runs To Appeal Court Over Judgement Nullifying Younger Brother Secret Revenue Collection Contract, Others

0
1288

Worried Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa has filed an Appeal against a court judgement nullifying his younger brother’s revenue collection contract and declared as illegal, the Passenger Welfare Scheme and the Daily Tax paid by Operators of Motorcycles and Tricycles among others.

A Warri-based human rights lawyer and the Executive Director, Centre for the vulnerable and the underprivileged, (CENTREP), Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi had dragged Delta state Governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa and two others to Otor-Udu high court in suit No: OUHC/111/2016 Oghenejobor Ikimi Esq., Vs. Governor of Delta State And 2 Others to challenge among other things, collection of Passenger’s Welfare Scheme Levy and daily Motorcycle and Tricycle Taxes from operators of motorcycles and tricycles in the state.

Delivering her judgement, last week the presiding Judge, Justice C.E Achilefu (Mrs.), declared the collection of the Passengers Welfare Scheme levy and the daily Motorcycle and Tricycle Taxes from operators of Motorcycle and Tricycle in Delta State as illegal and contrary to the provisions of Part II of the Schedule to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 2004 (as amended). 

The court also declared the assessment and collection of taxes and levies by private tax consultants, private tax Agents, individuals or committees on behalf of Delta State Government as illegal as same contravenes the provisions of sections 2  (1), 3 and 4 of the taxes and levies (Approved list for collection ) Act cap T2 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 amendment order 2015.

The Court among other things restrained Governor Okowa led administration perpetually from further collecting Passenger’s Welfare levies from commuters in the State and Motorcycle and Tricycle taxes from the operators in the State as same contravened the provisions of Part II of the Schedule  to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 2004 (as amended).

Okowa led government was further restrained from further collecting taxes and levies from her Citizens which are not listed in Part II of the Schedule as well as declaring that the Okowa government cannot collect any tax or levy not listed in Part II of the Schedule to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 2004 (as amended).

The court consequently restrained the Delta State Government perpetually from further using private tax consultants or private individual or bodies from assessing and collecting Taxes and Levies on behalf of the State. 

Meanwhile disturbed by the judgement and to have his younger brother continued as the revenue collection consultant in the state, governor Ifeanyi Okowa has filled an appeal against the court judgement.

Mr. Patrick Ukah, the State Information Commissioner, said in a statement that the State Government has already filed a notice of appeal praying the Appellate Court to set aside the judgment of the Lower Court delivered by Honourable Justice C.E. Achilefu (Mrs.) on Friday, April 28th, 2017 in suit No OUHC/111/2016 Oghenejabor Ikimi Vs. Governor of Delta State and 2 others.

The Delta State Government has also filed a Motion on Notice at the trial court praying for an order of injunction restraining the Claimant/Respondent from taking steps to reap the benefits derivable from the said judgment pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

In a swift reaction, Warri-based human rights lawyer and the Executive Director, Centre for the vulnerable and the underprivileged, (CENTREP), Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi said that the Delta State Government was about to act on another illegality by portraying its statement as if the government have already appealed the declaratory judgment. 

According to Ikimi, in a statement obtained by HardReporters, “I am aware that the Delta State Government has filed a Notice and Grounds of Appeal against the said declaratory judgment and has also filed a stay of execution. 

“If I may ask, why is the Delta State Government trembling over the above landmark judgment which is declaratory in nature?. 

“What would it cost the State Government to put in abeyance the collection of motorcycle and tricycle taxes in the State or the collection of the Passenger Welfare Scheme levy in the State which the above judgment declared illegal? .

“Furthermore, why is the State Government panicking over the injunction placed on it by the above judgment from further using private tax consultants, group or individuals from assessing and collecting taxes and levies in the State, which the said judgment also declared illegal.

“The State Board of Internal Revenue is the only statutory body allowed by law to assess and collect taxes and levies in the State. So why is the State Government uncomfortable with the use of her Board of Internal Revenue to assess and collect taxes and levies in the State.

“Methinks that the above action of the State Government to appeal is merely an attempt to buy time and continue to cover up a mischief in the above regard, as the said judgment is both a victory to all Deltans and a victory over impunity and lack of probity, transparency and accountability in the State. Governance is transitory while Justice is eternal”.

“For crying out loud, it is criminal for a Government to empower political associates, cronies and relatives with the assessment and collection of taxes and levies in a State without recourse to her State Board of Internal Revenue charged with the statutory responsibility to so do. It is very sad indeed”.    

“I can assure Deltans that at the end all the private tax consultants would be made to account for all the taxes and levies collected under the present administration or be prosecuted for any benefited derived from the above illegality.The above is my little quota at promoting good governance in the State and the Prosperity for all Deltans slogan of the present administration”, Ikimi added. 

Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa had secretly contracted revenues consultancy job to his younger brother, Mr. Solomon Okowa who he had allegedly splashed with over N200 million for the publication of his (Okowa’s) biography and two other books authored by Solomon.

An appointment letter certifying the governor’s brother as consultant in revenue collection, exclusively obtained by HardReporters was issued by the state Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The letter appointed Mr. Solomon Okowa as consultant for the collection of haulage fees from heavy duty trucks and vehicle operators and to over see whole of Delta North and Central senatorial districts of the state.

According to the letter dated 2/2/2017 with ref. No. MCI/PRS/2512/29, signed by S.O. Opuware, secretary ministerial tender board and reads thus “I am directed to inform you that the Hon. Commissioner of this ministry has approved the appointment of your company, Solo Integrated Conception LTD as consultant for the collection of haulage fees from heavy duty trucks and vehicle operators. You are expected to remit N500, 000 each on monthly basis to government account as per her share of the collections.”

Another letter of appointment obtained by our correspondent without ref. no, dated 24/5/2016, signed by Mr. O. Aguonye on behalf of the commissioner,
Ministry of Environment appointed two cronies of the governor, one Mr. Sunny Nwaolokor and Mr. Akponwan, as taskforce on collection of N2, 000 per vehicle carrying granite.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here