- Allegation baseless, says Commissioner
Members of Imo State Amalgamated Traders, ISAMATA has accused the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barr. Kingsley Ononuju of collecting over forty million naira from traders for the allocation of shops at stadium lane, Owerri.
It would be recalled that the market leaders had earlier written an open letter to the executive governor of Imo State alleging that the Commissioner used the name of Governor’s Debt Recovery Committee and collected total sum amounting to over forty million naira from sixty traders to officially allot shops to them at stadium lane, Owerri, but denied them access to the shops.
They also alleged that the Commissioner imposed a mandatory fee of one thousand naira for Data Base Form through his cronies.
A trader who pleaded for anonymity told Edge Express that they have suffered under the watch of Barr. Kingsley Ononuju as the Commerce and Industry Commissioner calling on governor Hope Uzodimma to quickly intervene. “We have paid several levies and forms of serial headings such as verification levy, Rev-allocation levy within June, 2020. Egbeada International Market traders paid thirty thousand naira each for verification. And, they also paid about two hundred and fifty thousand naira each for re-allocation of shops which were already allotted to them by the Local Government”, the trader cried out.
Edge Express gathered that confusion has been trailing a purported election of Egbeda International Market held in New Owerri last week Saturday which was spearheaded by the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.
However, in reaction the spokesman to the Commissioner, Mr. Ben Ahanonu dismissed the allegation maintaining that the traders paid money into the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Treasury Single Account (TSA).
He said, “there is nothing like the Commissioner’s private account where levies are paid into. Just like every other individual the Commissioner also has his own personal account. The allegation is unfounded, baseless, malicious and wicked.
“The revenue committee that was constituted by the Ministry to recover funds for government was causing trouble for both government and the Commissioner, as a result was disbanded.
“There are no illegal levies on any market union. The Ministry operates within the ambits of the law. Every levy is paid into the state Treasury Single Account (TSA).”
Ahanonu maintained that those peddling the lies were members of the committee disbanded who have ulterior motives of truncating the 3R agenda of the Governor, but were stopped by the Commissioner from actualizing their nefarious intentions.