Listen to article
A revenue contractor, Mr. Tochi Eiphraim, has been remanded by a magistrate court in Umuahia, Abia State. He is facing charges of allegedly shunning Gov. Alex Otti’s order to discontinue all revenue contracts within the state.
Gov. Otti, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kazie Uko, issued a statement terminating all revenue contracts and instructing the revenue contractors to return any government documents in their possession to the appropriate authorities.
Tochi, who was reportedly apprehended while collecting revenue at the Osisioma head bridge, was arrested by the police and subsequently transferred to Umuahia. After spending a few days in custody, he was eventually granted bail and released.
In a legal case with suit No: U/286/2023, titled Commissioner of Police vs Tochi Eiphraim and two others, the prosecuting counsel, Augustine Udoh, representing the state Criminal Investigations Department (SCID) in Umuahia, informed the court that Tochi and his associates had allegedly violated Gov. Otti’s directive to terminate all revenue contracts within the state.
The initial count of the five-count charge brought against him stated as follows: ‘That you, Tochi Ephraim, Chibuzo Ihemelanduand and Nwazue Azubuike and others now at large, on or about 21st June 2023, at Osisioma head bridge, Osisioma magisterial district, conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: assault occasioning harm/ malicious damage and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516A(a) of the criminal code cap 80, vol.3, laws of Abia state,2005.’
Upon the reading of the charges, Tochi pleaded not guilty. However, despite the defense counsel, I. V. Igboanugwo move at making a bail application, the court rejected the appeal. The case has been adjourned to July 19, 2023, leaving tochi awaiting further legal proceedings and potential repercussions for his alleged defiance of Gov. Otti’s order.
Gov. Alex Otti’s decision to terminate all revenue contracts indicates his administration’s commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability in revenue collection processes. By taking a firm stance against those who defy his order, the governor aims to restore public trust and prevent any potential misuse of public funds.
With the adjourned date approaching, all eyes are fixed on Abia State government, as stakeholders eagerly await the proceedings. The forthcoming verdict will not only determine Tochi’s fate but will also mold the future landscape of revenue collection and contract compliance within the state.