Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), on Friday, apprehended seven fake revenue collectors operating within Enugu North Local Government Area.
The fake revenue collectors, who claimed they were staff of the state Ministry of Environment and Enugu North Local Government Area, were apprehended by the Executive Chairman of ECTDA, Josef Onoh, and a team of security operatives.
It was gathered that the suspects at the point of arrest, had confiscated building materials from different construction sites within G.R.A axis of Enugu metropolis.
Items recovered from the suspects include 10 cartons of 60×60cm tiles, two bags of white cement, fake ID cards, fake Ministry of Environment tax force letter and Youth Empowerment Levy receipts of Enugu North Local Government Area.
Onoh said the brutality of the suspects’ action in collecting property levy and other revenue has sabotaged economic development in the state. He assured the suspects would be handed over to the Police who will charge them to court.
“We intercepted them during inspection. I heard some people screaming and shouting and we were already about driving out, so we thought they were robbers. My security team intercepted them and found out they were carrying out illegal duties under the disguise of youth empowerment.
“Their excuses to me was that there was no more political thuggery since the election has ended, they don’t have any work and decided to engage on youth empowerment levy, collecting building levies and every other thing and there is no where in the law of the state because we have banned youth empowerment programme and Federal Government has already created youth empowerment programme and if you’re lazy and did not tap into it, you should not go down to local government and convert the name youth empowerment programme to become development control.
“While we are doing the searching, we found out in their position that they have already disposed the owner of the property, his house and other building materials and given him receipt on how to pay.
“The State Government has a consolidated account where everybody should pay in and when we looked into these boys’ book log, we found out that they have other documented details on how they collect property levy and other money. Some of them have three different fake Identity cards from different local government, while some have task force letters from Ministry of Environment and we contacted the ministry of environment and they denied the letter.
“Because of the way they are brutally enforcing it, it has amounted to broad daylight robbery. Their actions have frustrated positive development in Enugu.
Collecting property levy and other levies are illegal and against the law of Enugu State. They will be charged to court to face legal action if found guilty”, Onoh said.
When contacted, the Head of taskforce Ministry of environment, Amaechi Orji, who came for clarification, denied knowledge of them as staff of the ministry, stressing that the ministry does not embark on drive without a team of security agents and does not collect cash.
“None of them is an official of the Ministry. All the documents they have here are fake. None of them emanated from the Ministry of Environment. We don’t go on drive without a team of security agents and don’t accept or collect cash because Enugu State has a single account where we pay. The ministry also gives notice of grace before confiscating any item”, He said.
One of the suspects, Chukwuemeka Iloeme, who disclosed that they work for Enugu North local government chairman, Emeka Odunze, said that he is not aware of the ban on Youth empowerment levy in the state.