The last may not have been heard about the alleged nefarious activities of some unscrupulous staff of the Imo Internal Revenue Service (IIRS) as a human rights group, Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA) has raised alarm over what it referred to as “the illegal and impersonating attitude and conduct of the IIRS boss, Dr Ifeanyi Chinonso Okeke which may result in massive corruption, looting, pilfering and flittering of the funds and resources of the IIRS which is the foremost revenue collection and generation agency in Imo state.”
This was contained in a petition dated April 4, 2022, signed by the National President, Comrade Princewill Okorie and addressed to the Imo State Attorney General and commissioner for Justice.
The petition captioned, “Public interest petition over the unlawful operation of Imo State Internal Revenue Service by the Interim Chairman, Dr Ifeanyi Chukwunonso Okeke”, reads in part, “In line with the objective of our association which is “upholding public interest in governance”, we are constrained to draw your attention to the illegal and impersonating attitude of Dr. It’eanyi Chukwunonso Okeke, an indigene of Anambra State appointed the Interim Head of the Imo State Internal Revenue Service whose appointment was communicated to the public via a letter dated February 18th. 2022 signed by one Femi Adedeji, . Head of Corporate Communications, IIRS.
“This petition is being presented to you for the following reasons: The difference between an interim head of an organization and the appointed Chief Executive Officer is clear for anybody to understand. For instance, an appointed Chief Executive Officer takes an oath of office, fills assets declaration form of the Code of Conduct Bureau, etc. It amounts to deceit, impersonation, irregularity and illegality for an appointed interim head of an agency of the state to issue letters or correspondences purporting and claiming to be the Executive Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the IIRS without affixing Interim Head on it and stating the true position of his appointment which is Acting Interim Head. This constitutes not only abuse of power, but also negates the principle of rule of law (see attached correspondences issued to the public by the Acting Chairman, Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke dated 25th March, 2022. which he signed as Executive Chairman rather than Interim Head)”.
The petition further averred that the position of Executive Chairman of IIRS is a very sensitive one that should be occupied by an honest, seasoned, disciplined and experienced professional with exceptional character and unblemished track record stressing that, “The position of Executive Chairman, Imo State internal Revenue Service is a very sensitive and important position that should not be identified with illegality in any form. This is because Imo people are expected to obey the directives of the Service on issues of taxes and revenue. Hence, it becomes an aberration to see the Imo State Internal Revenue Service headed by someone who disregards due process, rule of law, and deceptively assumes the office of an Executive Chairman when he is actually an acting Interim Head of the organization”.
Comrade Okorie, a renowned human rights activist and public opinion analyst expressed dismay that Dr Ifeanyi Okeke who neither swore an oath of office nor declared his assets as mandated by law, and deceptively claimed to be an Executive Chairman instead of Acting Interim Executive chairman pointed out that, “This anomaly should be addressed bearing in mind that section 15 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended states that “the stute shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”. There is the likelihood that taxpayers may start disobeying the directives given by the Service because Dr. Okeke is taking a position he has not been officially given.
“It is in recognition of the provisions of section 24(d) and (e) of the 1999
Constitution of Nigeria as amended which provides the duty of every citizen
Make positive and useful contribution to the community where he resides.
Render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order, that we decided to present this petition to your office.
“The Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act imposes a duty on public officers such as Chairmen of Boards or Parastatal of State Government to submit Asset Declaration Forms in the prescribed format to the Code of Conduct Bureau immediately after taking and/or assumption of office.
“Our worry is that the non-declaration of assets by the said Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke and the illegal assumption and exercise of office as the Executive Chairman of the Service will result in massive corruption, looting, pilfering and flittering of the Imo Stale Government Funds and resources at the Imo Stale Internal Revenue Service, which is the State’s foremost Revenue Collection and Generation Agency in Imo State.
“In the light of all the above, we pray:
That Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke be relieved of his appointment with immediate effect for this breach and deceitful conduct of arrogating to himself, the Executive Chairman of Imo Stale Internal Revenue Service instead of Acting Head and for non-declaration of assets which are criminal offences.
“Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke be made to tender apology to Imo people through media sources for this deceitful action.
Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke by his action has shown tendency for total disrespect for the office of the Governor and has acted contrary to the directives of the Governor who appointed him as Acting Head which amounts to act of insubordination. Furthermore, he has displayed complete disregard for adherence to the tenets and provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended which every public officer is bound to obey and uphold.
“May we respectfully inform your office that we are by this letter giving you pre-uclion notice that in the event that our prayers in this letter are not addressed within thirty days, we shall be left with no option than to apply any and all available legal processes and remedies against the [mo Stale Government and Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke as we see this very action of Dr. Okcke as an affront on the right of the people of Imo State to uphold rule of law in the governance of Imo State under a democratic system”.