• Says it is strange to civil service rules
• As Senate insists no amount of blackmail ‘ll stop probe
By Henry Umoru
THE Federal Civil Service Commission, FCSC, yesterday said the method used by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Interim Management Committee, IMC to sack 20 senior management staff was strange to the civil service rule.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during a sitting of the Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, led-Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Director, Disciplinary and Appeals of FCSC, Ojuh Agatha, told the Committee that the method was strange and unknown to the civil service.
According to her, if there was an established prima facie evidence against any officer, such officer would be suspended to ensure unhindered investigation.
She said the Commission was aware of development in the NDDC and that due processes were not observed by the Commission prior to the sack of some management staff.
When asked by Nwaoboshi if the civil service rules allowed a forensic auditor to ask that management staff should be sacked randomly, the FCSC Director said, “the random selection of those sacked is strange to us. Selection method is unknown to Civil Service rules.”
Earlier, the counsel to the sacked staff, Patrick Akan in his presentation said the sacked staff were opposed to the complete breach of procedure said there was no procedure for their removal as the exercise was carried out randomly by the IMC.
Akan who called for the immediate reversal of the alleged illegal disciplinary action taken against the staff of the NDDC through mandatory leave and compulsory retirement, said “that under the law and the NDDC conditions of Service, only a legally constituted Governing Board has power to authorize and approve the promotion of officers on grade level 14 and above. It is also the Board that is vested with power to discipline this category of senior staff in accordance with the law.”
The lawyer said that the affected workers had not been accorded the right of fair hearing and that the action taken against them did not follow the procedure prescribed by NDDC conditions of service.
Recall that the Senate had on May 5, mandated its Senator Peter Nwaoboshi-led Committee to investigate appropriateness of the alleged arbitrary sack of some management staff of the commission and report back at Plenary in four weeks.
In his remarks yesterday, Senator Nwaoboshi explained among others, that the investigation was necessitated by the petition forwarded to the Senate by the sacked staff , noting that as people’s representatives, it was within their parliamentary responsibility to listen, insisting that no amount of intimidation and blackmail would stop the investigation.