‘You Don’t’ Have The Right To Collect Money Meant For Local Government,’ Court Tells Okorocha’s Government
A court in Owerri has declared that the Imo State Government has no right to collect revenue meant for local governments in Imo State.
This was contained in a recent court decision in Suit Number ORC/9373/2016 between Owerri Municipal Council and Sterling Bank Plc.
In the suit, Owerri Municipal Council sued Sterling Bank for non payment of charges on signage and advertisement. In defence, the defendant bank claimed that it had earlier paid the charge to the Imo State Government arguing that the later demand by the local government council for payment of the charge amounted to abuse of court process.
In his ruling, the presiding magistrate declared the collection of the charge by the state government as illegal and unconstitutional citing various legal authorities. Consequently, the court overruled the bank’s preliminary objection and directed the bank to pay the charges to the local government council as claimed.
It could be recalled that at the inception of the Okorocha Administration in Imo State in 2011, Governor Rochas Okorocha dissolved elected local government councils in the 27 local government areas in the state. Since then, the councils have been manned by the governor’s appointees as against the provision of the nation’s constitution.