· Cites irregularities, incompetence
The ripples, controversy, outrage and suspicion generated by what many refer to as the ill-conceived appointment of Mr Ifeanyi Okeke, an aide of the Imo state commissioner for Finance, Doris Uzoka Anite as Chairman of Imo Internal Revenue Service, formerly called Board of Internal Revenue has continued unabated as a group known as Imo Good Governance Team,IGGT has joined the league of those calling for the sack of the IIRS boss who incidentally hails from Anambra State.
The group, in a release signed by the Coordinator, Comrade Ikenna Maduka, a copy of which was made available to Nigeria Watchdog Newspapeer faulted Dr Okeke’s appointment on the ground that it is not in line with the rules, guidelines and procedure guiding such appointments.
The release also noted that “with the desperation with which Gov Hope Uzodinma bull dozed his way and ensured that Dr Okeke’s principal Dr Doris Uzoka Anite became the commissioner for Finance despite protests from different quarters, appointing her aide as Chairman of IIRS sends an ominous signal. It means that the finances of Imo State are in the hands of a cabal that are likely to work hand in gloves with the powers that be to hoodwink and short change Imo people.”
“It is also an aberration and a slight on the sensibilities of Imo people for the governor to appoint a man who hails from Anambra State as chairman of IIRS as if there is a shortage of credible, qualified and experienced manpower in Imo State.”
The group further expressed concern over the reported closeness of the commissioner for Finance to actors in government house whose aide is now the Chairman of IIRS and the governor pointing out that, “she is said to be hardly seen in the office. Some of the Directors in the Ministry of Finance who are tired of complaining about the Commissioner’s excesses and continued absence from duty have now resorted to speaking in whispers to avoid being witch hunted by the woman who is said to often flaunt her closeness with the Governor to intimidate people around.”
It would be recalled that the appointment of Dr Doris Uzoka Anite, whose aide has recently been appointed Chairman of B.I.R was faulted by many concerned Imolites because of her link with Zenith Bank which has several financial unresolved issues with the Imo State government.
The appointment of the new boss of the Board of Internal Revenue Dr Ifeanyi Okeke also elicited serious concern in many quarters just like that of his principal the commissioner for finance.
The Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper in one of its publications at the peak of the controversy elicited by the appointment Dr Doris Uzoka whose aide is presently chairman of the BIR stated, said, “Financial experts and members of the financial advisory committee set up by the former Imo State governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to support his development agenda and other ancillary financial assignments have raised alarm faulting the recent appointment of Dr. Doris Nkeiruka Uzoka and have in a strong worded petition to the 9th Imo House of Assembly opposed the appointment of the candidate who they described as a former staff of Zenith Bank who is hired to do a hatchet job to cover the over N112billion illicit deal involving the bank.
In the four page petition to the Imo State house of Assembly through the Speaker, signed by Dr Abraham Nwankwo and four others, backed with verifiable documents, to the house against the commissioner tagged “request to save Imo State from continued assault, interest. The appointment of one Dr. Doris Nkeiruke Uzoka Anite of Zenith Bank Plc, as Commissioner for Finance vis-à-vis non recovery of N111.5 billion of state funds from Zenith Bank Plc. A case in point” the petitioner gave reasons why the lady should not be appointed as she is only there to cover the deal already known to the financial advisory committee and some Imolites.
Part of the thought provoking petition include, “being citizens of Imo State, committed to contributing to its progress, and having been mandated under His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s administration as the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) to solve a major problem, and having meticulously carried out the assignment for the good of the present and future generations of Imo State, we are committed to ensuring that the people of Imo are not denied the benefits of our contribution, under whatever guise”.
“Accordingly, we write to petition against the appointment of Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite as Finance Commissioner with the added mandate of coordinating the economy of Imo State, and the failure of the administration of His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma to recover amounts which have been established that Imo State was defrauded of by Zenith Bank Plc.
Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite is a former staff of Zenith Bank Plc which is the major bank involved in severe financial infractions tantamount to allegedly defrauding the State of over N111.5 billion.”
In view of the above, it is believed in several quarters that the appointment of the aide of the former commissioner whose integrity was questioned as chairman of a sensitive establishment like the BIR could be a grand design to cover up some issues, perpetrate sinister objectives and short change Imo people.
However a release announcing Okeke’s appointment as Chairman of the B.I.R, signed by Femi Adotunji, Head Corporate Communication dated February 18, 2022, reads, “The Executive Governor Imo State. Senator Hope Uzodimma has appointed Dr Ifeanyi Chukwunonso Okeke as the Interim Chairman/CEO of the Imo State Internal Revenue Services (MRS) The appointment is with immediate effect.”