ANAMBRA State Government has arrested more three persons over illegal sale of tickets, tax and levy collection. The alleged tax collectors who were between the ages of 45 to 50 years included; Francis Eze, Vincent Ezeobi who is also a driver and Gilbert Ugochukwu.
The arrest which was carried out by the Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry within the Ekwulobia Market in Aguata Local Government Area, was in line with the state government’s directive to rid the state of all illegal revenue collections and efforts to fight against those defrauding traders in and around markets across the state who claim to be working for the state or private bodies.
Addressing journalists after the exercise at the state secretariat, Awka, the Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Christian Madubuko described the act as criminal and said that the ministry has handed the culprits over to the police .
Dr Madubuko who recalled that the state government cancelled collection of all forms of levy in all the markets across the state for three months to harness the collection of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), for optimal returns, stressed that Anambra State has lost huge amount of money to illegal tax collectors which according to him, has led to continuous dwindling of the state’s IGR.
According to the commissioner, over 75 hoodlums have been prosecuted by the state government for illegal collection of levies and they are remanded in prison custody. He explained that govt will continue to do so until the system is sanitized.
“Revenue base of the state has continued to dwindle, there is need to increase the state’s IGR to continue to pay salaries. If we harness the resources of the state in the IGR base, we may not have need for going to Abuja for allocation”.
“Every approval to construct market must come from Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry and we have not authorised anybody,” he said.
The leader of the team, Francis Eze explained that he bought the land at about N5.2m and has invested over N3m in constructing about 22 shops.
Mr. Eze who further explained that he rented the shops to oil sellers in the area who used to stay along the major road. He claimed that he had authorization from the Aguata Local Government.
“I went to the local government section of Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry and got authorization to build the shops,” he noted.