Those found culpable by investigation must be prosecuted. There should no sacred cows. The Commission is and should be the fulcrum in the fight against corruption. Before the battle proper, the Augean stable has to be cleaned and set as an example”
Chris Steven, Abuja
Some aggrieved member of staff at the Headquarters of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over what they described as gross abuse of office and mismanagement of the Commission by its Chairman, Ekpo Nta.
The staff who have written two separate petitions to the President to institute an inquiry into the activities of the Commission in the past years accused Mr. Nta of violating several sections of the Act of the Commission as well as compromising its mandates.
According to one of the petitions obtained by our reporter the staff alleged that Commission Chairman was not eligible for the office of the Chairman of ICPC on the basis of lack of cognate experience but was nominated for the job by the former Governor of Akwa Ibom state now a Senator, Godswill Akpabio as he is a card carrying member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This was as they called for the suspension of the Chairman, Board and management of the Commission for a thorough investigation.
The Chairman, among other allegations, was accused of truncating an ongoing recruitment exercise being conducted by NAKACHI Consult, a Human Resources firm contracted in 2010 to conduct the recruitment exercise.
They alleged him of replacing short listed candidates who according to them had no connections, with children and relations of those in power during former President Goodluck Jonathan regime.
He was said to have also favoured members of the Commission’s Board who they claimed brought over six candidates each while some top management staff of the Commission also benefitted from the exercise.
” A sham subjective examination of no substance was quickly organised for the favoured candidates many of whom never wrote the exam but were recruited.
As it is, the fraudulently recruited staff were hurriedly packaged for a confirmation examination between the 27th and 28th of May, 2015 before the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in.
Most of these new recruits do not possess the requisite qualifications and certificates they claim and no due diligence was conducted on them as was done with the older staff” said the staff in a petition obtained by our correspondent.
They further alleged that the Commission Chairman is still recruiting staff without properly declaring vacancies, resource to due process and federal character consideration and thereafter back dating letters of appointment in order that they can hurriedly be confirmed.
This, they argued violated Sections 16, 19, 26 (a-9) of the ICPC Act noting that eight of the 20 staff recruited in January 2015 were from Mr. Nta’s home state, Akwa Ibom.
“In furtherance of perpetrating the recruitment scam and atrocities, Mr. Ekpo Nta in a bid to cover the inadequacies of his recruits, directed that they should be granted for screening of certificates before the confirmation exam because many of them don’t have the certificates.
“In addition, the pass mark for the confirmation examination has been dropped from 60% to 45% to favour his recruits violating Section 19 and 26 (a-c) of the Commission Act.
The recruited staff are being quietly upgraded to higher levels notwithstanding that they had already accepted the offer of employment on resumption of duty. This is in violation of the codes of the Public Service and natural justice considering the fact that same privileges have not been extended to other employees” the staff said
While ending the petition, the aggrieved staff said ” the Commission is wallowing in mismanagement and corruption. It has underperformed largely because the leadership and their cronies have compromised its integrity.
Anything short of suspending the Chairman, Board and management for a thorough investigation and house cleaning will not yield the desired result. It will be an exercise in futility like putting the wine in old wineskies.