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NDDC N40 Billion Fraud Scandal: Staff Make Another Shocking Revelation, Indict Interim Management Committee

More revelations have continued to emerge over the N40 billion fraud allegation against the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Recall that the Upper Legislative Chamber had on penultimate week ago set up a seven-man adhoc committee to investigate the financial transactions, which amounted to N40billion carried out by the IMC on behalf of the NDDC within the last three months and report back to the House in one month

This followed a motion sponsored by Senator Thompson George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East).

According to Sekibo, aside from financial recklessness, the IMC also indulges in an alleged arbitrary sack of the management staff of the commission.

However, we have obtained a statement by some concerned staff of the company narrating how the organisation is being managed by those they described as four-man clique. The statement signed on behalf of the concerned by Richard Arinze, accused the Interim Management Committee of destroying the civil service structure of NDDC.

The statement reads; “We want to alert Nigerians to the continued desecration of the administrative guidelines for government-owned institutions as provided for in the civil service appointment, promotion and discipline rules by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”

“While the compulsory leave and retirement handed some staff some weeks back caused a lot of furor across Nigeria, as the reasons were unconventional, the IMC appears not content, even dismissive of the questions raised by concerned Niger Deltans and Nigerians, as it goes ahead to distort the administrative guidelines at the Commission by promoting staff without interview or tests as provided for in the civil service rules.”

“It is important to know that as an agency of the federal government, the NDDC is duty-bound to abide by the general civil service rules where appointments, promotions and discipline follow laid-down procedures and are not subject to the whims of the management. Since NDDC was established 20 years ago, no management has tried to distort this position until the current interim management.”

“The Acting Managing Director and Head of the IMC was quoted in the media to have told the Presidential Monitoring Committee led by Godswill Akpabio that some of those who were asked to proceed on indefinite leave pending the outcome of the forensic audit were indicted persons.”

In his words, “Following the advice of the Lead Consultant on the Forensic Audit exercise, the Commission placed certain members of staff on mandatory leave with full benefits, pending the conclusion and outcome of the on-going forensic audit. Some of the affected staff were those already indicted by anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC for acts of financial impropriety and corruption and whose continuous presence at their duty posts could interfere, impair, undermine or compromise the objective of the forensic audit exercise.”

“It is interesting that the IMC has tried to spin the story of the sack of the senior staff from those who held top offices and could compromise the audit to those who have been indicted by the EFCC. The questions to ask are: At what point were these staffers indicted by the EFCC? When did the EFCC investigate the said staff or the NDDC during which they were indicted? How did the so-called forensic audit firm get to be the one advising the IMC that staff of the agency have been indicted? The minister and his IMC are pathological liars who bend the truth at every opportunity to perfect their selfish agenda at the NDDC.”

“Some senior staff who were asked to go have just a few years left in service. Public Service Rule (PSR) No 020810 provides for the retirement of a civil servant who has attained the age of 60 years or 35 years in service but the IMC directed civil servants who have two more years or less to stay in service to proceed on compulsory retirement.”

“The IMC first gave the impression that it only asked the affected staff to go on paid-leave for the duration of the so-called forensic-audit. And then a fresh reason surfaced: some of those asked to go have been indicted by the EFCC! Does Pondei know the meaning of Indictment? How can someone indicted for so long, a civil servant, still be in office? Even if that were so, under Rule 030301 of Section 3 of PSR which deals with misconduct, an officer must be informed in writing of the specific act of wrong doing or the improper behaviour inimical to the image of the organization charged against him which must be investigated and proved before any disciplinary action can be taken against him. In this case, we do not even know those indicted let alone whether there have been queries issued to anyone preparatory to action taken.”

“Yet the latest is the arbitrary promotion of staff at the NDDC, with letters distributed to staff between April and early May 2020, without formal tests or interviews as have been the practice. While the Civil Service Rules/Guidelines which guide Ministries Departments and Agencies in the public sector provides that staff on Grade Levels 8 – 14 must spend three years on a position before promotion and those on Levels 15 – 17 four years, this rule has been thrashed by the interim management who even gave their favoured staff who have not spent the prescribed number of years double promotion, all without interview or assessment test.”

“What the minister has established at the NDDC using his rubberstamp IMC are two classes of staff – those who are favoured by Akpabio because they have been recruited for his personal agenda and the rest of us who dutifully follow our jobs without eye service. What we have experienced is that the NDDC today is run by a four-man clique.”

“The Civil Service Rules are very clear on the discipline of staff, yet the interim management have ignored them the way the minister ignored the NDDC Act that provides for a Governing Board, not an Interim Management Committee. While we cannot reveal ourselves because we are civil servants we are expectantly waiting for the investigation by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees to put a stop to these unwholesome practices by the interim management committee.”

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