The General Overseer of New Wave Assembly Church, Owerri, Henrietta Jacobs, as the Chairman of the Imo State Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), has been operating a sole administration to the exclusion of other vital members of the board and top management staff of the parastatal to the deficit of the state economy.
Before her appointment as Chairman of the money yielding government agency, Henrietta Jacobs, who has a special cleavage to Governor Rochas Okorocha, through her older sister, Nonye Rajis, ensured that other members of the board were removed to give her hand and unfettered access to operate and run the finances of the state, without encumbrances or interference.
In a letter to the Head of Service, dated 9th May, 2016, SGI/3036/TI/X headed “Re: Re-organization of Board of Internal Revenue”, the incoming Chairperson made it mandatory that the under-listed personnel were sent on compulsory leave, Ononaku E.I, Nzerem P.O, Pastor Nebue P.C, Nsonwu N.C, Dr J.A Nwachukwu and Azuoma B.A. The letter read in part as reproduced below, “I hereby convey the decision of the Governor to overhaul and re-organize the Board of Internal Revenue; with a view to achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness in the generation of internal revenue”.
It went on to explain, “you will of course recall Sir, that due to the continued slump in oil prices, states now have to rely heavily on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for survival and sustain. It is government directive therefore that you take immediate actions as follows (a) sending the officers mentioned above on compulsory leave.
Thereafter with the aforementioned officers out of the way, the Chairman of the board through the office of the then Secretary to Government of Imo State (SGI), Sir George Eche, embarked on what she called re-organization of the board through another memo SGI/0361/TI/XX dated 16thMay, 2016, headed Re: Re-organization of Board of Internal Revenue, and saw to it that while the six sectional heads were to continue to be on compulsory leave, all others who had at that date worked for more than 5 years, were forcefully redeployed by the Head of Service”, this was to pave way for the Chairman to be a sole administrator of the Board of Internal Revenue of the state.
Thereafter, the affairs of the Board including taxes and rates were being collected, managed and disbursed by Henrietta Jacobs, who was operating under cover of her elder sister, Nonye Rajis, then resident at Okorocha’s palace at Ogboko from where they effected the Governor’s decisions as the acting Vice Chancellor of Imo European Eastern Palm University, Ogboko.
To perfect her plans to run the board alone after sending the various sectional heads on compulsory leave, it was the turn of the other board of internal revenue workers, who by a letter to the Secretary to the State Government, emanating from the office of the Governor, dated 10th May, 2016, and signed by then Principal Secretary to the Governor, ordered for a compulsory leave for all Board of Internal Revenue staff, whereby no one was covered as stated thus “I am directed to inform you that His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha (OON), has approved that all staff of Board of Internal Revenue should proceed on compulsory leave, affective 10th May, 2016, “thus leaving Pastor Henrietta Jacobs to run the affairs of the board alone.
From then on, the Pastor turned tax collector, appointed and recruited revenue staff or revenue contractors of all manners, who they said were only accountable to her and governor Rochas Okorocha’s family. This explains how Imo Internal Resources were frittered away to private pockets.
For instance, from the contents of a letter of complaint to then Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Resources and Pension Affairs, from the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, captioned “appointment as collectors on dredging and haulage of Mineral/Agricultural Produces and twine in Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri zones, it was discovered that some persons who were earlier granted the right of revenue collection in certain areas, had their contracts arbitrarily terminated and the same consultants appointed, who were accountable to the board Chairman alone, hence revenue base fell woefully under N4 billion annually.