Alarming disclosures continue to surface as the House of Representatives conducts an inquiry into the issue of job racketeering within government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) as well as the misuse of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Service (IPPIS).
The investigations have, so far, uncovered a high level of corruption among government officials, many of whom have confessed to receiving monies from unsuspecting job seekers in exchange for jobs.
The Committee led by lawmaker, Yusuf Gagdi, who represents APC, Plateau, in the past month discovered that top staff of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), an agency charged with the responsibility of ensuring fairness, equity, transparency, and accountability in the sharing of federal vacancies have been indicted in the alleged racketeering.
Although the investigation is still ongoing, the ad-hoc committee found a gross violation of the FCC Act by the top management of the agency where they indiscriminately granted employment waivers to MDAs, conducted lopsided employment in most agencies and outrightly sold job vacancies to desperate unemployed people.
The shocking revelation from the FCC came to the fore when an erstwhile IPPIS desk officer at the agency, Mr. Haruna Kolo who was accused of collecting monies from people to offer them jobs, confessed that he had collected over N75 million from applicants on the instruction of the FCC chairman, Dr. Farida Dankaka for employment.
Kolo told the committee that the FCC Chairman, Dankaka instructed him to receive the money in his personal account and pay to her in cash, which he did at several meetings at her house.
The ex-IPPIS desk officer disclosed that he resigned from FCC on the 2nd of November 2022 to begin work at Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), yet received salaries from the FCC on two occasions, which he claimed he reported to the FCC Human Resource Officer, who said it would be sorted out.
In his words Kolo said, “When she came to Federal Character as the executive chairman, she appointed me as a protocol officer, which I carried out my duty diligently. (She being the FCC Chairman)
“On the allegations of job racketeering, the FCC chairman instructed me to liaise with one Mr Shehu who is a personal driver and PA to the Taraba State commissioner.
”As a desk officer, I’m responsible for taking whoever is employed to IPPIS for capturing. No one can go there without a letter from the Chairman or Human Resource Officer of the FCC.
“When she came, she wrote a letter to the Accountant General instructing that no letter from FCC should be honoured unless she signed the letter. So, whenever there was new employment, she signs, gives them to me and I take them to the Accountant General’s office for capturing”.
The embattled officer further revealed that “Shehu is the one that brought those who paid money to my account for a job, some paid 1 million, others 1.5 million all to my personal account, my Ecobank account. She asked me to give cash to her, which I did through POS so there is no evidence of transfer or anything.
”On the allegation of working at seven places, I was never at any time involved in seven jobs, they are making the allegation based on the assumption’, he stated.
Kolo disclosed that the “The second allegation on my subsequent employment at AMCOM, was a result of her personal favour to me, we were four in number, and she gave the appointment letter to myself, Kadijah, and Olusola, we all proceeded for an interview at AMCON headquarters in Abuja after which we were called upon for training on the 16th January 2023, after the training, I and Olusola were called to Lagos.
“Unfortunately, Kadijah, who is the chairman’s biological sister, was rejected, the chairman accused me of being responsible for her rejection.
“I see no reason why the chairperson will make allegations of such magnitude to my humble self. I have been threatened even at gunpoint and had to leave Abuja. Sir, I want this committee to know that after this sitting if anything happens to me, the FCC chairperson should be held responsible,” he submitted.
Meanwhile, the adhoc Committee Chairman, Gagdi revealed that Mr Kolo’s bank statements had been obtained and some names which made suspicious transfers to the account flagged and summoned to appear at the investigative hearing.
Gagdi said the committee found that one Gbadamosi Jalo made several transfers to Mr Kolo.
In his words, “In Haruna Kolo’s account, we saw transactions linked to Ishau Gambo, a driver linked to the Taraba Commissioner. We have no reason other than to invite the Taraba Commissioner. We called him with Abubakar, the PA to the commissioner.
Gbadamosi Jalo featured prominently, including some candidates who got the job through racketeering,” he said.
In his testimony, Jalo told the committee under oath that he paid N1.2 million into the account of Mr Kolo and was offered employment with the FCC. He stated that he was subsequently enrolled on the IPPIS and was receiving his salary.
He informed the committee that following the success of his employment, he was urged by Kolo to get other job seekers that are ready to pay. He told the committee that he got about ten persons who paid through him. According to Jalo, most candidates who came through him were recruited at the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR).
Jalo said he met Mr Kolo through Ishayu Gambo, a driver to Taraba State commissioner. “I met Haruna Kolo through Ishau Gambo. We did our IPPIS on 14tb October 2021. I started receiving my salary the next month, November. Based on that, I had confidence. Kolo told me to look for additional people. He also told me that there would be another recruitment. When they paid money into my account,” he said.
Similarly, Musa Ibrahim also testified before the committee. In his testimony, he claimed that he facilitated the payment of money to the account of Abdulahi Ibrahim, allegedly an aide to Mamman Ankayi, the FCC Commissioner from Nasarawa State.
He presented evidence of payments to the committee and alleged that Mr Ibrahim was arrested but the commissioner facilitated his release.
He said, “Abdullahi Ibrahim was a scam; we got him arrested at a point, “he said.
Again, Abdulmalik Ahmed and Ali Yaro both victims of alleged job racketeering at the FCC said they paid N1 million and N2 million, respectively, for job placements in the commission.
Testifying before the ad hoc committee, Ahmed, an indigene of Adamawa said he met the driver of the Commissioner, representing Taraba, Mr Yisha’u Gambo who promised to get him a job in the FCC on the condition that he pays the sum of N1 million.
He, however, said he refused to pay the money to Yisha’u because he was an ordinary driver. “It was Yisha’u who introduced Mr Harunu Kolo, a former staff of the FCC and the desk officer of IPPIS in the commission. I paid N1 million into Kolo’s account when I confirmed that he was a staff of the commission, I refused to pay to the driver for security reasons.
“I transferred N1 million to Kolo’s account. We initially agreed on N1.5 million with Gambo, a driver to the Commissioner, representing Taraba.”
He said 27 of them were issued appointment letters having paid the requested money, adding that in spite of the fact that appointment letters were issued, they were not posted to any designated MDAs.
“The Head of Human Resources in FCC confirmed to us that our appointments were genuine before they cleverly took it from us. I was engaged for two years before I was disengaged without posting.”
He said contrary to information from the FCC that there was no recruitment since 2017, there was recruitment in 2021 and all the commissioners had a hand in the recruitment exercise. “Kolo convinced me to pay so that our employment can come after that of Directors and the Commissioners.
On his part, Yaro, another witness from Borno said he was made to pay N2 million to secure a job in the FCC. “I paid N2 million into Badamasi Jalo’s account, another victim but acting as agent for collection of monies for Kolo. Kolo and Badamasi both assured me that I will get an appointment letter in January,” he said, adding that he was captured on IPPIS on Aug. 5, 2021, but never got placement.
“I graduated 11 years ago and I had a chance to become Boko Haram but I refused because I wanted to be a good citizen,” he said.
While reacting to the allegations leveled against her by Kolo, the FCC chairman, Dr. Farida Dankaka swore with God and Holy Qu’ran that she never collected any monies from Kolo, insisting that she has never instructed her former subordinate to collect money on her behalf. “I swear with Almighty God, I am with this Qu’ran. Thank God the secretary brought this Qu’ran. If I ever collect one naira from this Kolo, may almighty destroy what I worked for. If I have ever in my life asked him to go and collect one naira from anybody with Qu’ran let it be destroyed.
“I have not set my eyes on this Kolo since December. I don’t know the driver that they are talking about. I have never set eyes on the driver. He said he comes to my house to give me money, he does not come to my house to give me money,” she said.
Also, Mamman Alakai, the commissioner representing Nasarawa state in the FCC, who was equally mentioned denied collecting money to secure employment for job seekers.
Musa Ibrahim one of the potential beneficiaries had told the committee that he, alongside nine other persons, paid millions into the account of a linkman to Alakai, identified as Abdullahi Ibrahim.
But the Commissioner during his appearance before the ad hoc committee said he had never received money from anyone for a job offer. “A traditional ruler in Nasarawa called to inform me that one of my aides collected money from him for job slots. I asked that the number be tracked by the police and I discovered it was Ibrahim. I wrote a petition to the police and he was traced,” Alakai said.
“When they went to his house, the police found a uniform of the Nigerian Correctional Service. He claimed that he worked there. I was told that the people he defrauded have gone to court.”
Alakai asked the committee to carry out an investigation into his bank account, saying “My account is open for the committee to scrutinise since Ibrahim claimed he paid money to me for job slots”.
The investigation is still underway and more MDAs are expected to appear before the committee just as the chairman of the probe panel, Yusuf Gagdi has vowed to expose all the corruption and infractions associated with employment in the nation’s agencies. He has also vowed to recommend for the abolition of waivers in employment in the federal agencies insisting that the provisions were being abused and mismanaged by those in authority.
Source: Daily Post