From Osakhare Erese, Asaba
The Delta State taskforce on ground rent has flayed fake claims of property owners, describing the development as regrettable.
While it warned that the act was not only disservice to the progress of the state, the taskforce said the acts were chargeable crime that could end culprits in prison, and urged citizens of the state to take advantage of the current relief put in place to mitigate accumulated debts.
Mr. Moses Ojor, Chairman of the taskforce who spoke to journalists on Wednesday, in Asaba, disclosed that following the commencement of enforcement of ground rent payment on March 13, 2018, proofs of payment tendered by many defaulters, were found to be fake and bogus.
He said “the state embarked on full enforcement on defaulters on ground rent after series of warnings; and moral suasion and concessions have failed in the past years, the concessions given by the Delta State Government include substantial reductions of numbers of years owed by the defaulters, in spite of which many have not completed to date” adding that accordingly, the taskforce commenced enforcement March 13, 2018, an operation that led to the sealing of business premises through court orders for seal up or impounding of properties of such defaulters.
He regretted that several persons in connivance with officers charged with the responsibility to provide companies, individuals with proofs of payment up to 2020 as evidenced in the bogus receipts tendered whereas ground rent was never paid upfront but annually.
The taskforce would extend operations to Warri, and other major cities and towns to do the needful, and pay up on all outstanding, stressing that no defaulters would be spared.
It would be recalled that the State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa had in January 2017 inaugurated the ground rent committee under the chairmanship of the State Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbide with the mandate to advice on policy formulation for ground rent, implementation and collection, including making claims on behalf of the government.