By Ejiro Umukoro
The Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating employment racketeering as well as gross mismanagement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, has reaffirmed its readiness to probe beyond the surface and deliver on its mandate even as it has threatened to issue the warrant of arrest to MDAs Chief Executives Officers who refused to honour their invitation and appear before the parliament.
At the continuation of the investigative hearing yesterday, more facts were established as two witnesses who appeared before the lawmakers confirmed that they were among 24 persons employed in the Federal Character Commission, FCC, earlier this year.
Out of the two, Yasua Gambo, who is currently working with the Taraba State commissioner at the commission, informed lawmakers that he has no idea of anybody with racketeering other than Kolo Haruna.
According to Yasua Gambo who said he is just a driver to the Commissioner, he has no idea of what is going on at the commission because his work schedule is just to drive his boss and is not a staff of the agency.
Gambo, who spoke in the Hausa language, was cross-examined by the chairman of the Committee, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, who during the investigation, prevailed on other fellow members not to intimidate Gambo as he was invited to enable the committee to gather more information.
In his submission, the driver to the commissioner of Taraba, Ibrahim told the committee that he was approached by Haruna Kolo to search for those who want to work in the federal character commission adding that he was initially involved when two people got the appointment letters after they have paid huge amount of money through his account to the former desk officer at the establishment.
He explained that after the initial deal, kolo called him after some time, informing him that there were other available slots again saying this time, additional 3 people were involved with a negotiable bargain of N3m each.
He stated that after some months, additional 10 people were brought for the deal and since he was no more interested he left and had no idea of what went on between lol and the10 persons but was aware that all of them were captured under IPPIS through Haruna kolo after some change of cash.
Abdulrahman Ibrahim, who claimed to be a Personal Assistant, PA, to Taraba state Commissioner, said he initially worked with Taraba state Commissioner. He explained that he was given an appointment letter in 2023 through his boss.
He informed the committee that his boss assisted him to get the work as most of those employed in 2023 are yet to be captured by the IPPIS maintaining that all the commissioners at the commission were given two slots each for the work at the agency early this year.
In another development, the Energy Commission of Nigeria also appeared before the Committee. The Acting Director General of the agency, Olayande Sunday, promised to consider marginalised states in subsequent recruitment of his agency.
Lawmakers had questioned the rationale of applying different methods of recruitment in 2019, while a different approach was applied by the same agency during recruitment in the 2023 exercise
Acting Director General of the agency had earlier admitted non-advertisement of the recruitment because of waivers on them, adding that his organization has ever collected a dime from anybody before jobs are given.
Lawmakers argued that most MDAs in the country usually hide under the wavers from FCC and other agencies of government to deprive qualified young graduates of work in the country.
The Chairman emphasized that public agencies in the country hide under the waver to perpetrate fraud during recruitment, reiterating that wavers are nothing but a fraud. The Chairman explained that public officeholders hide under wavers to engage in racketeering, wondering why public agencies should recruit over 200 to 300 persons without reasons to advertise the vacancy in the newspaper. Lawmakers insisted that Energy Commission must tender lists of those recruited into the commission.
Lawmakers expressed worry that degrees and certificates are not a true test of knowledge, nothing that some who have first-class might not do well when it comes to practicality.
In his reactions, the Acting Director General informed the committee that he has gone through several processes and tutelage stressing that before his current position in the establishment, he has worked under different Director Generals in the agency and is qualified to head the commission as most of their work has to do with research.
The Chairman also impressed on the agency to present the updated version of his documents to the committee while urging them to come back unfailingly on Tuesday next week for the continuation of the hearing.
Other lawmakers who spoke decried the marginalization melted on their constituency, asking the commission to rate itself as to whether it’s fair and balanced following the neglect of federal character principles.
The Acting DG also told the committee that his commission has no casual staff, stressing that since his first appointment at the agency in 1992 he has been up and doing to ensure that the commission carries out its mandates.
Consequently, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Managing Director, during the appearance, pleaded with the committee to them additional period to enable them to prepare adequately before the presentation.
The Chairman of the panel, Hon Gagdi, while reacting to the request, commended the agency for their appearance and granted their request.
The chairman further directed the secretariat to provide names of all agencies that were invited to appear but refused while threatening to issue arrest warrants to MDAs who refused to honour their invitations.