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Published On: Mon, Jan 7th, 2013

Confusion Trails Delta State ‘Missing’ N1b Tax Revenue

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There appears to be confusion in Delta State over the whereabouts of a whopping N1billion tax revenue allegedly paid by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR).

Currently, two banks, Union Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, are alleged to be involved in a blame game over the issue as the exact whereabouts of the money continues to be shrouded in mystery.

Impeccable sources at the revenue board in Asaba, the state capital, said the money was allegedly paid to Union Bank by CNL on December 27, 2012 after which it was allegedly transferred to Diamond Bank Plc, Asaba branch, which is one of the revenue collecting banks for the state revenue board.

It was however gathered that as at last Friday when the money was being expected, Union Bank was yet to credit the account of the board.

Meanwhile, Union Bank is alleged to be strongly holding to its claim that the money had been successfully transferred into DBIR account with Diamond Bank as Diamond Bank, on its part, allegedly insisted that the money had not been received.

One of the sources in Asaba actually said: “The bank was to pay the said amount into Delta State Government account managed by Diamond Bank Plc but as at last Friday, the Board is yet to receive confirmation from the bank, prompting the fears of the Board as to who is in custody of the fund.

“This is a big problem. How can the two banks be so confused in this kind of situation? I am beginning to wonder that somebody somewhere is trying to play games with this issue but I know that they will not get out of this matter so easily because I trust our Chairman is going to go all out to ensure that the banks are sanctioned.”

The management of Union Bank and Diamond Bank could not react to the development as efforts made by THEWILL to reach them proved abortive as at the time of filling this report.

However, the Executive Chairman of DBIR, Hon Thomas Joel-Onowakpo, confirmed the development in a telephone chat.

“I wish to confirm that it is true that we have been trying to fish out who among the two banks is holding our funds.

“It is because of circumstances like this, that warranted the Board’s several stakeholders meeting with our collecting banks, warning them against this unethical banking practice.

“I have said times without number that, what is being practiced is not banking, the banks are only providing a breeding ground for monumental fraud and I am calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the other regulatory agencies to investigate this particular case and sanction the erring banks accordingly,” he said.

Joel-Onowakpo maintained that he was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the actions of the banks were deliberate, saying they were only playing games to improve their cash position for their year-end records in order to satisfy the new CBN regulations.

SOURCE: THEWILL** Joe Ogbodu submitted this report from Warri.

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