Oct 10, 2011 – Ebonyi State Loses N50 Million Yearly To Fraudsters
The Ebonyi State government revealed that it loses N50 million annually to fraudsters at the Umuoharu Quarry Enterprise Zone in the Ezza North Local Government Area of the State.
The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the state, Dr. Ifeanyi Ike, in Abakaliki on Sunday, said that the losses were due to the unwholesome activities of unscrupulous individuals at the site.
The commissioner made this known after a visit to the quarry to inspect a N30 million weigh bridge that was constructed in 2009, but which had since not been put to use
The idea for the weigh bridge was conceived by a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the state, Professor Joseph Chukwu. It is meant to be used to determine the number of trucks and tons of crushed stones that leave the quarry site.
“I have to embark on the visit to ensure that the good intention of the State Government in putting the weigh bridge in place is actualised,” Ike said.
“And if you approximate it for a year, the state is losing about N50 million. The problem is that most of this money is being siphoned by some unscrupulous individuals.”
Explaining that the ministry recently apprehended a revenue collector at Amofia quarry site for using forged receipt, Ike said the receipt had the inscription of the Ebonyi State Government on it and was used to collect revenue for a private establishment.
“On interrogation, the culprit revealed that the fake receipt was given to him by a retired permanent secretary in the ministry who owns the company,” Ike said, promising that the culprit and his cohorts would be prosecuted. “The state government would no longer tolerate a situation where top government functionaries use fake receipts to defraud the state.”
A representative of the firm that constructed the weigh bridge, Mr Tony Nkama, said that the non-functionality of the weigh bridge was due to sabotage.
“What happened here today was a big surprise to us because this weigh-bridge was test run. It was abandoned because the previous people heading the ministry never wanted to use it for reasons best known to them,” Nkama said.