Edo commissioner denies alleged N22b fraud
EDO State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Lucky James, yesterday described as blackmail fabricated to rubbish his hard earned reputation, the alleged illegal deduction of N22 billion from the allocations of the local government areas in the state. The commissioner said besides the statutory deductions, the ministry has no legal right to dabble into the funds of the local government areas. He said: ‘’Don’t forget this is an era of blackmail, either from the PDP or from those seeking elective positions within my party who want me down. “Nothing transpires in this ministry without the approval of the State Governor. Besides the 1% statutory deduction to the state local government commission authority, 5% for traditional rulers and teachers salaries, which is even the sole responsibility of the State Basic Universal Education Board, I m not aware of any other deduction. “The Governor does not know what goes into the local government accounts, much more deducting from the account. The PDP lawmaker who raised the false alarm was, before now, the chairman, House Committee for local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. How come he never drew the attention of the House to this mischievous allegation before now?” Chief Lucky James said the only deduction ever made from the local government account by the present government was the accumulated compulsory 5% PAYE tax, which ought to have been remitted to the account of the state government via the Board of Internal Revenue He also denied having any property in the United State of America. ‘’There is nothing like a U.S property. I detest traveling abroad.’’ The records are there. They should go and verify both at the embassy and any other exit point.’’ It will be recalled that the commissioner, the state attorney- general and the Finance were alleged to have been under investigation over a N22 billion fraud, bordering on inflation of contract and illegal deduction of local government funds.