Prof Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River State, has inaugurated a three-man Land Debt Recovery Committee for the recovery of outstanding debts owed the state government by individuals and organisations for land and properties sold to them.
While inaugurating the Committee in Government House Calabar, Senator Ayade urged members of the committee to be dutiful and honest in the discharge of their duties.
Represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, he said “the three-man committee is made up of Chartered Accountant and Auditors who are man and women of integrity and who have been tested and proven in various capacities”.
The committee has Francisca Inok, the Auditor General for Local Government as its Chairman while Efem Ejah and Agede Ebeh would serve as member and Secretary.respectively.
Furthermore, the governor outlined the following terms of reference for the committee: “To raise demand notices for all outstanding land payments and post notices of non-payment on indebted properties.
“To place adverts in local and national newspapers demanding for outstanding payments from individuals and companies indebted to government as a result of land allocations at Water Board layout, Ikot Effangha Mkpa layout, Ogoja, Okuku/Yala, and all across the state;
“To place adverts in local and national newspapers demanding from civil servants indebted to government arising from sale of houses in government estates, propertied in Calabar, Ugep, Ikom, Ogoja and across the state.
“To conduct public hearings in Calabar for a period of 3 weeks, one week in each of the three Senatorial districts to enable a census of all government land and government properties sold between 2015 to date and document all disputes, complaints and outstanding payments during, the period.”
He also asked the committee to carry out a forensic x-ray of all building plans approvals, payments, and Ministry of Lands Revenue Returns at Internal Revenue Service- from the year 2015 to date with a view to ascertaining the true state of revenue returns against the Pay-direct platforms at IRS from the year 2015 to date with a view to ascertaining the true state of revenue returned and identify any area or areas of leakages.
He also asked the committee to invite or co-opt any person(s) or group of persons who can be of assistance to the Committee and submit a report to government within 6 weeks from the date of this inauguration.
Speaking on behalf of other members, the Chairman and state Auditor-General for Local Government, Francisca Inok expressed their profound gratitude to the state governor for finding them worthy to serve in that capacity and pledged to justify the confidence reposed on its members.
She noted that, the assignment given to them was not to witch-hunt nor intended to embarrass anyone but that the government deemed it fit to be more proactive that payment for government land was accounted for and as at when due.