A revenue collector, Mr Tochi Eiphraim, has been remanded in custody, by a magistrate court in Umuahia, Abia State, for allegedly going against the order set out by the governor of the state, Alex Otti on revenue collection in the state.
Governor Otti had in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kazie Uko, halted all revenue contracts and directed revenue contractors to return government documents in their possession to the state government.
Meanwhile, as part of the activities of the government to enforce the order, Mr Tochi while collecting revenue at the Osisioma head bridge, was arrested by the police and transferred to Umuahia.
Subsequently, he was released on bail after a few days, and charged to court for legal prosecution.
However, in suit No: U/286/2023, Commissioner of Police vs Tochi Eiphraim and two others, the prosecuting counsel, Augustine Udoh, from the state Criminal Investigations Department, SCID, Umuahia, told the court that Tochi and his colleagues defied Gov.Otti’s order on the termination of all revenue contracts in the state.
The first count of the five-count charge against him, read; “That you, Tochi Ephraim, Chibuzo Ihemelanduand and Nwazue Azubuike and others now at large, on or about 21st June 2023, at Osisioma head bridge, Osisioma magisterial district, conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: assault occasioning harm/ malicious damage and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516A(a) of the criminal code cap 80, vol.3, laws of Abia state, 2005.”
Tochi however pleaded not guilty after reading the charges against him at the floor of the court, while an appeal for bail by his counsel, I V. Igboanugwo, was also rejected by the court and the matter was adjourned to July 19, 2023, for further hearing.