REVENUE FRAUD: POLICE IN EBONYI INVESTIGATE LAWMAKER FOR ALLEGED ILLEGAL LOADING OF RICE IN HIS PREMISES
Police in Ebonyi State say they are investigating the involvement of a state lawmaker in alleged diversion of revenue accruing to the state government through illegal loading of Abakaliki Rice at his premises.
Radio Nigeria gathered that a truck being used to convey hundreds of bags of rice to Lagos was allegedly impounded by the police while loading at the residence of the House member in Abakaliki.
Investigations reveal that any rice produced at Abakaliki Rice Mill must be packaged with the Mills branded bag with necessary revenues paid into the coffers of the government before being moved out of the premises.
The truck impounded by the police was said to be loading rice produced at the mill in a residential home of a state lawmaker when security operatives stormed his premises.
The Acting Chairman of the Rice Mill, Mr. Samuel Ogodo, noted that the illegal business had been on for a long time, emphasising that he invited police to search the home of the lawmaker following a tip off.
One of the owners of the bags of rice allegedly recovered from the premises of the lawmaker, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Ifere, said he did not know how his goods were moved to the place for loading.
Another dealer involved in the matter, Mr. Benard Irem, denied short changing the government, pointing out that bags of rice being loaded in the premises of the lawmaker were those purchased at various parts of the state.
In his reaction, the lawmaker, Chief Joseph Ununu, described the allegation as a cheap blackmail, noting that he had handed himself over to the police for investigation.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ebonyi State, Mrs. Loveth Odah, said investigations into the matter had commenced.
Mrs. Odah noted that the outcome of the investigations would determine whether the matter would be charged to court or not.