Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state has ordered the immediate probe of former governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion over alleged fraudulent removal of $31 million from the government coffers during his administration.
Oshiomhole reached this decision on the former governor who had been prosecuted in the past for cases of fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and who was convicted, after the State Executive Council meeting held in Benin on Wednesday.
According to reports, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Louis Odion, who spoke with journalists after the meeting, said: “there is the issue of a fraud that was discovered while turning our books. We found that the sum of $31 million was fraudulently taken from state coffers under the administration of Chief Lucky Ogbinedion. The Comrade Governor has directed the Attorney-General to commence legal action in that direction.
“So in the coming days, the state government will take legal action to ensure that what was stolen from Edo State Government is recovered. When you convert $31 million to naira, it fetches you a whooping N7 billion. You can imagine what N7 billion will do in improving the human condition in Edo State”.
The Commissioner who praised some landlords and companies in the state on the level of their compliance with the land use charge said: “Comrade Oshiomhole has asked me to convey his appreciation and gratitude to the good people of Edo State as well as members of the private sector for their voluntary compliance with the Land Use Charge.
“He has asked me to single out Coca-Cola Bottling Company for voluntary compliance. I think we need to put this in context. Our challenge as a government is mounting. Every day, our citizens want government to intervene, they want schools to be built, they want roads reconstructed but the truth is that our revenue is dwindling and without deepening the tax base, we won’t be able to deliver.
“So when we find corporate body and citizens who voluntarily comply by paying their taxes, we view them as partners in progress.
“We have also been directed to put on notice the CEOs of some companies, notably banks who have refused to remit what is due to the government. I am speaking specifically with regards to some banks that have failed to remit withholding tax to the state government”.