Onetime Commissioner for Internally Generated Revenue, Hon Nick Oparandudu has denied knowledge of an alleged illegally opened IGR bank accounts, saying that since he was not in a position to carry out such function, the accounts could have been opened by former Accountant General of the State, Sir George Eche and erstwhile Finance Commissioner, Hon Chike Okafor respectively.
Hon Oparandudu said this while answering questions from newsmen in Owerri, the capital of Imo State. He maintained that the power to open any bank account on behalf of the state was the duty of the Accountant General in concert with the Governor’s approval.
He said that during his days as Commissioner for IGR, he did not request or authorize anyone to open any illegal bank account, describing it as one of the biggest offense any public officer could commit.
The former Commissioner, Hon Oparandudu was accused of appointing IGR committee to carry out the functions on behalf of the state government without the consent of either the Accountant General or Commissioner for Finance. It was alleged that instead of remitting to government’s coffers, he used the committee to illegally siphon government funds to personal use through the illegal accounts.
Document obtained by this newspaper revealed that Oparandudu was alleged to have fixed a salary of N150, 000 to N250, 000 respectively with monthly impress of N2 million to members of the committee led by one Mrs. Chioma (surname withheld) and some of his personal Aides as members, adding that the fat salary and impress were to influence them to do his biddings.
Hon Oparandudu who earlier denied appointing members of the IGR committee, but a letter with reference No MIRPA/S.001/1/7 signed by the then Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of IGR, Asonye Igwe and obtained showed that he did not only appoint the committee but used them to take over the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) desk formerly in the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Development to his IGR Ministry in a bid to illegally enrich himself.
An earlier message sent to the former Accountant General, Sir Eche to react to the allegation was ignored, but a call from one of his media aides simply identified as Mrs. Munonye denied knowledge of such accounts, saying that those accounts could have been in existence when Oparandudu served as Economic Adviser to the Governor.
Meanwhile, all efforts to reach Hon Okafor to respond to the allegation proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.