Delta State Revenue Board Chairman in Trouble Over Loans to Political Group
The Delta state Internal Revenue board chairman, Mr. Joel Onowakpo has allegedly landed himself in a dip mess for allegedly using a political group (ITHIHIKPEBE Campaign Organition) to raise loans for women and girls in his community, Emede,
Isoko South local government area of Delta state in his preparation to the forthcoming 2015 elections. ITHIHIKPEBE was said to have been formed purposely for the re-election bid of the corrupt Governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
The group, it was learnt, before now parades some vibrant members who were later discarded after been used by the embattled board chairman to consolidate his position, while the group's US based Director General, Mr. Ambrose Okuhor was allegedly involved in clandestine deals to the detriment of the founding members of the group to his advantage all in a bid to install his bosom friend, Mr. Onowakpo as member representing Isoko South constituency 1 in the state House of Assembly in the forthcoming 2015 general elections.
The camel's back was broken recently when the board's chairman started giving out loans to women and girls with high interest rates which must be pay back within eleven months time and failure to pay back such borrower shall have their property confiscated or face police arrest. However, investigations have revealed that after discarding its members, the board chairman went to his home town, Emede and started dishing out loans of #50, 000 and #30, 000 each to women and girls which must be paid back within eleven months with interest rate of #7,000-#8,000 monthly as the case may be. This, the borrowers have condemned in its entirety, crying that they were lured into borrowing the money but when later told of the high interest involved and the political under tune, they had no option than to cry out to the public.
According to the victims who simply gave their names as Elo, Rhoda, Endurance, Abigail and Elizabeth amongst others 'The money is government money so why asking us to pay back even at that high rate. If we go to money lenders, the interest rate won't be as high as this one coming from the revenue board chairman. We were told the money is government money which is been using to prepare his ground for the House of Assembly 2015 general elections.' They women alleged. The group, it was alleged could been funded with monies generated from tax payment in the state, mostly now that the board chairman has allegedly indicated his interest to contest for the House of Assembly seat in the forthcoming 2015 general elections. For two consecutive times the board chairman has been told to step down for the House of Assembly slot where he was compensated with revenue board chairman position.
The embattled board chairman, it was reliably learnt that when he came onboard with the group, he told the members that he was a liberator who has come to liberate Isoko from the hands of Chief Solomon Ogba, state Secretary PDP, Mr. Johnson Erijo, Mr. Macaulay Ovuozorie (SSG) and others, describing them as vampires who are sucking the people to death and all of a sudden this same man who made all this vows turned to be a vampire who no longer answer calls or reply SMS from those discarded members, but only answer calls and respond to females whom he was alleged to have employed into the board since the power of employment of non-graduates rested on him. A lady called Uyoyo, is said to be among those employed but in her case she was appointed as one of his aides who dedicates who gets one benefit or the others from her boss even as sources closed to the board alleged that the said Uyoyo has turned the board chairman's mistress.
According to one of the PAs to the embattled board chairman, Mr. Endurance Edafewotu who knows little or nothing about his boss dealings in ITHIHIKPEBE however exposed more dirty deals of his boss as regard the group when he said 'First Ithihikpe was formed to campaign for H.E Dr. Uduaghan's Re-Election; its slogan is Justice and Peace. Till date its d only politically based organisation that after campaigns and the elections are over, still keep to its empowerment promises by providing functionally well equipped office manned by seasoned administrators who are paid till date. By today over 70 persons have benefited from d Micro-credit scheme and over 100 youths are undergoing different trades in various places sponsored by Ithihikpebe. Secondly, Delta State board of internal revenue did not employ in this recent recruitment; instead the powers of employment lies solely on the Delta state Civil Service Commission therefore that allegation is unfounded. Presently the DG is finalizing arrangement with Doctors from USA to give free medical examination and treatment to Isoko people.'
Meanwhile investigations by this writer shown that non of the above things stated by the PA, exist. Sources at the state civil service who confided in this reporter said that there were minor employment by the board chairman recently in the board adding that he has the right to employ non graduates but this the sources could not give more details on the employment. As at the time of this report crisis has rocked the group even as it was gathered that an arrangement to stage a mass protest against the chairman may have be concluded but on getting wind of this, the embattled board chairman, sources said have traveled abroad to hide his face from the society pending when the whole trouble will subside.