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False claims on ground rent is a punishable offence- Delta Govt.

The Delta State Task Force on ground rent has expressed concern over alleged attempt by some property owners to falsify claims of payment of ground rent.

It warns that it is a chargeable crime that could land the culprits in prison.

The Task force described the allegation as regrettable, warning the act was not only a disservice to the progress of the state but a chargeable crime that could end culprits in prison, urging citizens to take advantage of the current relief put in place to mitigate accumulated debts.

The Chairman of the Task Force, Mr Moses Ojor, revealed that following the commencement of enforcement of ground rent payment on March 13, proofs of payment tendered by many defaulters who visited the office of the Committee and Task Force to make claims of compliance were found to be fake and bogus.

“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 number of years owed by the defaulters in spite of which many have not complied till date.

“We, accordingly, commenced enforcement in the state capital, Asaba, on Monday March 13, leading to the sealing of business premises through court orders for seal up or impounding of properties of such defaulters.

“Following the operation, many defaulters came visiting the Committee and Task Force offices to make claims of compliance but we have found that many of the claims are fake and bogus.

“Particularly regrettable is that several persons in connivance with officers charged with the responsibility provided companies and individuals with proofs of payment up to 2020 as evidenced in the bogus receipts tendered whereas Ground Rent is not paid upfront but annually,” the Chairman stated.

Indicating that the Task Force would soon extend operations to Warri and other major cities and towns, he enjoined all defaulting property owners to do the needful and pay up on all outstanding stressing that no defaulters would be spared.

It would be recalled that the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, in January 2017, inaugurated the Ground Rent Committee under the Chairmanship of the Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie, with the mandate to advice on policy formulation for Ground Rent implementation and collection including making claims on behalf of the government.

Credit: Independent

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