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Senate probes HoS, perm secs over MDAs’ job scandals

The Senate has demanded detailed written submissions from the Head of Service of the Federation, permanent secretaries and heads of federal ministries and agencies on the levels of their involvement in the job racketeering scandal going on under their watch.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, wrote the strongly-worded query to the various heads of the MDAs, through the HoS, which was dispatched to the accounting officers by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

The official communication was titled, ‘Petition against the permanent secretaries and directors of human resources and administration of various MDAs for a deliberate failure to document, engage and deploy qualified candidates to their various MDAs between 2016 to 2019.’

The letter alleged that the non-documentation and deployment of the affected successful candidates had led to fraud and gross mismanagement of appropriated funds annually.

The Senate alleged further that the various MDAs were harbouring syndicates who were acting as fronts for some key officers in the establishments and were collecting between N500,000 and N1.5m from each candidate already engaged by the Federal Civil Service Commission before their documents would be processed and deployed accordingly.

Part of the letter read, “It has been the practice of the permanent secretaries in connivance with the Director of Human Resources of the various MDAs to deliberately fail to document the engaged staff deployed to them by the Federal Civil Service Commission on their declared vacancies annually and hence resulting in fraudulent misappropriation of billions of naira yearly appropriated funds to pay the engaged Nigerian employees unabated.

“This action was due to the fact that some syndicates who were alleged to be acting for some key officers of the MDAs demand between N500,000 to N1,500,000 before candidates engaged by Federal Civil Service Commission and deployed to the ministries have to pay before proper documentation can be completed for them to start work.

“Therefore, most of the candidates who cannot afford the cash gratifications are left undocumented for years while the appropriated fund to pay their salaries are being misappropriated yearly unchecked.

“Hence, the need to call on the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to beam its searchlight into all the Federal Ministries and Agencies to checkmate this fraudulent acts for corrective action to be taken without further delay with particular reference to the federal ministries.”

The Senate therefore asked the HoS and the accounting officers of the various MDAs to explain why the personnel cost budget approved by the National Assembly yearly in the 2016 to 2019 Appropriation Act of the Federation had been properly managed.

The letters were dispatched to the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Defence.

It also affected the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Federal Ministry of Communications and the Federal Ministry of Education and Youth Development among others.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, confirmed the development in an interview with our correspondent on Monday.

He said, “We have evidence of letter of employment of some candidates engaged since 2018 by the Federal Civil Service Commission and deployed to some ministries but yet to be documented up till now.

“We have therefore, written to all heads of MDAs for their responses in writing so that our committee will carry out a full scale investigation on the issue.”

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