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Imo panel indicts ex-LG bosses in alleged N60b fraud

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• Ihedioha suspends levies on commercial road-users
• Council chief decries menace of herders

Former chairmen of the 27 councils in Imo State have been accused of mismanaging estimated N60 billion that accrued to the councils between January 2018 and March 2019. A panel set up by the Governor Emeka Ihedioha-led administration to investigate the administration of the councils from 2011 to 2019 indicted them.

Disclosing this to newsmen in Owerri at the weekend, the panel chairman, Eze Duruiheoma (SAN), said the affected chairmen had continued to turn down invitations to appear before the panel to answer to the matter. Duruihuoma, the immediate past National Population Commission (NPC) chairman, explained that the panel discovered that each of the council chairmen got no less than N2 billion within the period, which were not accounted for.

He said, “Contrary to all financial regulations, the panel discovered that huge sums of money were severally lodged into these chairmen’s accounts. We’ve invited them for discussion and they’ve refused to come. “We viewed their actions as an affront to the state government. Some governors won’t take what Governor Ihedioha is taking from them.”

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Governor Ihedioha, at the weekend, directed the stoppage of harassment and illegal revenue collection from commercial vehicle-owners in various parts of the state, threatening to deal with the offenders.Scores of commercial motorists had last week protested in Owerri against the legion of toll collections by those regarded as unscrupulous elements.

A statement in Owerri at the weekend by the chairman of Imo Internal Revenue Service (IIRS) reads: “Following reports of incessant harassment of commercial vehicle operators by hoodlums and illegal revenue collectors disguising as Imo State Government or Imo State Internal Revenue Service agents, Governor Emeka Ihedioha has ordered the immediate suspension of collection of daily tolls, tickets and taxes from all commercial road-users all over the state until further notice.”

Meanwhile, the chairman, Interim Management Committee (IMC), Mbaitoli Council, Canice Mba, has called on the authorities to urgently intervene and save the locals in the area from the menace of herdsmen whom he said defied all entreaties and unleashed their cattle on the farms of his people.

Mba, who made the plea at the weekend while playing host to the members of the Imo State Correspondents’ Chapel, at the council headquarters, Nwaorieubi, called for the rescue of his community from the armed herders.His words: “Our greatest challenge is the herdsmen issue. It is a very big threat in the council. There is no place you go that you won’t see this herdsman. The issue of armed robbery is reduced. They have destroyed our crops, attempted to rape our women.”

“I have told our people not to confront them; that they should remain peaceful. We gathered that some of the people who own the cattle are highly connected. “The destructive activities of the cattle are affecting farming productivity negatively.”

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