PMB’s Anti-Corruption Crusade Suffers Big Blow As Illegal Recruitment Rocks PEF

Smarting from the outcome of a probe panel where some management staff were dismissed, demoted and disengaged for actions bordering on forgery, fake certificates, implementation of financial increments without necessary approvals. The Petroleum Equalisation Fund is once again emmessed in a case of illegal recruitment of one Mallam Aminu Ahmed which is made worse because there was a deliberate contravention of NYSC Act and other recruitment extant laws of the Public Service Rules on employment and Federal Character Commission on same by the management of PEF in the employment of Aminu Said Ahmed.

In what seems to be a litmus test for the Federal Government in its resolve to fight illegal recruitment into the Federal Civil Service, this is coming on the heels of the recent alarm raised by the Acting Secretary to Government who informed an aghast nation that illegal recruitment into the nation’s civil service is going on a large scale. This development is  not only worrisome; it indeed undermines Government projections and efforts to keep overheads manageable .Facts emerging from PEF says staff are up in arms against management who have recommended the sack of staffs who used fake credentials. A probe panel was allegedly set up and targetted against a select group of staff where a staff was found to have presented forged certificate, and another probe to be set up for those who are yet to submit their certificates after decades in service.

The aggrieved PEF staff accused PEF management of selective justice and refusal to sack and persecute Mallam Aminu Said Ahmed and his collaborators who were the first to circumvent in PEF the Nigerian employment procedure especially as it relates to the NYSC Act because of Aminu’s links in the Emirate Council of Adamawa. Staff have vowed to also expose management’s selective fight against corruption, and resist any probe and sanctions against any staff if the glaring infractions in Aminu Said Ahmed illegal employment is not addressed. Incontrovertible documents were made available to this medium in order to emphasis the state of things.Mallam Aminu Said Ahmed was employed illegally into the public service during the eight years administration of Alhaji Gurin as the Executive Secretary of PEF. Aminu Said Ahmed graduated from Bauchi Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi with a 3rd class honour in Oct 2003.

An array of documents available to us shows that Aminu Said Ahmed proceeded on the mandatory National Youth Service-NYSC on the 8th of September 2003 and his call-up letter with NYSC number KD/ATB/03/0702010 completed his National Youth Service on the 7th of September 2004. However against the NYSC Act which stipulates thus:”…12. Production of Certificate for employment purposes(1) For the purposes of employment anywhere in the Federation and before employment, it shall be the duty of every prospective employer to demand and obtain from any person who claims to have obtained his first degree at the end of the academic year 1973-74 or, as the case may be, at the end of any subsequent academic year the following—(a) a copy of the Certificate of National Service of such person issued pursuant to section 11 of this Act;(b) a copy of any exemption certificate issued to such person pursuant to section 17 of this Act; and(c) such other particulars relevant thereto as may be prescribed by or under this Act.

(2) It shall also be the duty of every employer to produce on demand to a police officer, not below the rank of an assistant superintendent of Police, any such certificate and particulars or copies thereof.13. Offences and penalties, etc.(1) Any person—(a) who fails to report for service in the service corps in the manner directed by the Directorate or as the case may be, prescribed pursuant to the provisions of this Act; or(b) who refuses to make himself available for service in the service corps continuously for the period specified in subsection (2) of this section, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of twelve months or to both such fine and imprisonment.(2) Any person who—(a) under the provisions of this Act is not eligible to participate in the service corps so participates or attempts to so participate is guilty of an offence; or(b) having served in the service corps and has been duly issued with a Certificate of National Service or certificate of exemption, as the case may be, and is not eligible to serve under the same service corps so participates or attempts to so participate is guilty of an offence, and liable on conviction to a fine of N4,000 or to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(3) Any person who fails to comply with or who contravenes or causes or aids or abets another to contravene any provision of this Act (not being a provision relating to the calling up of members of the service corps) is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(4) Any person who—(a) in giving any information for the purposes of this Act knowingly or recklessly makes a statement which is false; or(b) forges or uses or lends to or allows to be used other than in the manner provided by this Act by any other person any certificate issued pursuant to the provisions of this Act; or(c) makes, or has in his possession any document so closely resembling any certificate so issued as to be calculated to deceive, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(5) Where an offence under subsection (3) of this section which has been committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other official of the body corporate, or any person purporting to act in such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly….”Aminu Said Ahmed, with a Third Class degree was the only one offered employment in PEF in the whole of Nigeria in 2004 through a letter with number PEF/C/123/S.3 dated 22/7/04 in clear violation of the NYSC Act which required that Aminu Said Ahmed must have completed his NYSC service before any employment.

Aminu Said Ahmed received and signed the Acceptance letter addressed to his residence at 54 Ahmadu Bello Way, P. O. Box 4848, Yola, Adamawa state on the 26th of July 2004, agreeing to resume work on the 27th of July 2004. Meanwhile, he finished his Youth Service in September 2004. What is yet to be determined is how someone that should be in active service was able to receive a letter in far away Yola.He did not only benefit from this illegal recruitment but was also granted overseas study leave to study a Masters in Computer and Network Engineering in Sheffield Hallam University UK, with full study leave allowance paid for by the management of PEF before the confirmation of his appointment as required by the extent laws in the Civil Service Rules. The system was always skewed to favour him to the detriment of civil service cohesion and discipline. Public service rules and all extant laws which required him to have completed his two years probation and be confirmed before enjoying such benefit were disregarded.

PEF staff have vowed not to let this matter be swept under the carpet as more facts of its operations will be sent to the public domain.Presidency blows whistle on illegal recruitments in ministries, parastatalsJuly 17, 2017 0The Presidency has exposed illegal, large scale and indiscriminate clandestine recruitments in federal ministries, department and agencies (MDAs).A circular by the former acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr. Habiba Lawal to the Chief of staff to the President, National Assembly, service chiefs, heads of ministries and agencies amongst others, said many MDAs have been carrying out recruitments in the guise of replacement of existing staff without following due process.The memo is titled “Streamlining procedures for recruitment into federal agencies.”While condemning the scam, which has led to Federal Government’s payroll ballooning, the circular warned MDAs to follow due process in their operations.

It stated that if the practices continued unabated without reference to budgetary provisions and due process, government was at risk of owing workers salaries, budget shortfalls and the threat of increasing the cost of payroll, which was already over 40 per cent of total government expenditure.It said government has seen the need to take drastic action to arrest the situation in view of the current economic situation facing the country.The former acting SGF who frowned at the recruitments, which she said, were in flagrant disregard of rules and established procedures for recruitment in the public service, noted that the recruitments had affected the ongoing reform of the payroll and personnel cost management, as it had created ghost workers in the payroll who receive fraudulent and erroneous salaries and also perpetuated nepotism and regional imbalances in the public service.

“The attention of the President has been drawn to reports of massive and indiscriminate clandestine recruitments in federal ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) in flagrant disregard of rules and established procedures for recruitment in the public service.“Many MDAs have been carrying out recruitments in the guise of replacement of existing staff without following due process,” she claimed.Lawal also argued that the current ongoing reforms aimed at providing a high level assurance on the integrity of the payroll and personnel cost would be jeopardised.

The fromer acting SGF explained that government has decided to streamline the process and procedures for recruitment and appointment into the public service in conformity with the certain guidelines.She listed the guidelines to include: adherence to manpower budget for proposed recruitment, which must be approved by the supervising agency or ministry; obtaining of waiver to recruit from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation; appropriate budgetary provisions to accommodate the proposed recruitment and letter of clearance from the director general of the budget office of the federation to confirm budgetary provision for the proposed recruitment.

Other guidelines include approval of Federal Character Commission for the distribution of vacancies for the proposed recruitment to ensure equitable distribution of vacancies among the states; obtaining certificate of clearance for the Federal Character Commission for the recruitment; representation of the Federal Civil Service Commission as observers in the recruitment process in the ministries, representatives of the office of the head of service of the federation in other to ensure compliance with extant rules and provision of recruitment.“In case of agencies/parasatals appropriate representation of supervising ministries and agencies to provide necessary guidance and give credibility to the exercise. Permanent secretaries and heads of extra- ministerial departments would be held personally responsible for ensuring strict compliance with this circular.

“The implementation of the provisions of the circular takes immediate effect. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all staff and ensure strict compliance,” she stated.This revelation no doubt will further cast aspersions on the anti-corruption crusade of President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration which many public affairs analysts and social critics believe is way too lopsided.Also, according to our impeccable sources in the parastatal, the interesting thing about the whole saga is that the indicted gentleman is about to be promoted whilst other sources say he’s actually being lined up for a juicy appointment in a matter of weeks.

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