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Infractions: How 27 job-seekers paid N3m to FCC official for ‘voodoo’ opportunities

*Nigeria’s House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee investigating government ministries, department and agencies, and tertiary institutions on mismanagement of the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system, says job-seekers testified they paid millions of Naira to certain Haruna Kolo of the Federal Character Commission in exchange for employment opportunities in the Civil Service

Alexander Davis |  ConsumerConnect

Nigeria’s Federal Character Commission (FCC), again, has come under public scrutiny over alleged job racketeering and related infractions.

ConsumerConnect reports two witnesses, who were victims of the job racketeering testified against the regulatory Commission before the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee, Tuesday, August 8, 2023, in the National Assembly (NASS), Abuja, FCT.

The witnesses, Abdulmalik Isah Ahmed and Ali Muhammed Yero, however, pleaded that the employment letters, which had been retrieved from them after they paid the sum of 1million and 2million be returned to them.

The witnesses, who testified before the House committee investigating Federal ministries, department and agencies, parastatals and tertiary institutions on mismanagement of the Integrated payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS) also said that they paid the sum of 1million and 2million to Haruna Kolo of the Federal Character Commission  and Badamasi Jalo, another victim who was coordinating payments for other candidates for Haruna Kolo for employment into the FCC.

According to Abdulmalik Ahmed, their employment letters earlier issued to 27 of them were later retrieved from them at a meeting July 17, 2023, by a committee which investigated them and collected their appointment letters.

The job-seekers said the  committee the FCC set up assured they would issue fresh appointment letters to them.

He added that the Secretary to the Taraba state commissioner told them that they do not send appointment letters to the commission but promised them that they will conduct an investigation into the case, retrieve their monies and regularide them and they were asked to come back Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

Ahmed related his experience on the job scam with FCC: “I graduated 11years ago without a job and I had the chance to become a Boko Haram, but I did not because I want to be a good citizen of Nigeria.

“My brothers Nurudeen Yaro and Abdulrazak Yaro paid the sum of 2million naira to Badamasi Yaro’s account on the 2nd of August 2022.

Badamasi Yaro is working with Haruna Kolo and the money paid into his account was for a job at federal Character Commission.

He also said: “Haruna Kolo told me the slot was from the Chairperson of the commission that is why I would be captured under IPPIS platform .

“Badamasi brought the employment letter with some documents for me on the 5th August 2022, Badamasi took me to Treasury House in Abuja where Kolo Haruna took me to the IPPIS office and I was captured on IPPIS platform.

“Kolo Haruna and Badamasi told me my posting letter will be ready after 2 weeks and I got my first salary in January 2023, five months after the enrollment by IPPIS.

“After that, Badamasi created a WhatsApp group platform for us, and we came to in February 2023 to see the Director of Human Resources for posting because Kolo could no longer be reached on phone and that the Chairman secured a job for him at AMCON in Lagos.

“Photocopies of our employment letters were collected by the Director of Human Resources for posting once he got clearance from the Chairperson.”

The victim further explained on Thursday, July 13, 2023, I received a message from Gideon Zubairu a staff in the Human Resources that we should come for a meeting, on Monday 17th July 2023.

“So, seeing the development on social media prompted me to come forward and testify.”

Also testifying before the committee, Abdulmalik Isa Ahmed another witness said that though his employment letter had been retrieved, he still receives salaries up till date despite not being posted for any employment by the Commission.

Ahmed also noted: “This is the list of five among us who have stopped receiving their pay though I still received my salary up to date.

“When we were pressurisng the Commission, we sent these documents to Badamasi Jalo, already this document has been signed for the enrolment of some of us that have stopped receiving pay.

“So, the down signature is that of the Secretary. When we went to the Chairman, because I happened to be among the three that appeared before the Chairman. Before the Secretary effected anything, she said the document was forged.

“After having the appointments, Mr Kolo promised us to be posted in two months time.

“That was when we learnt that there was a recruitment in 2021, each of the Commissioners has candidates and the Directors, that was the selection adopted.

“So, we who are ordinary citizens of the country, we came through this process.

He related: “All of the Commissioners are having candidates nothing less than a candidate and directors, some of the directors from what I know, because I have been interacting with people in the system.

“All we came through Kolo, through this means of paying money and he promised us that since he has others to go with our batch.

“That was the reason we were convinced about him. We were convinced that we have to go along.

“The information was on the basis that, our appointment is genuine with established knowledge that we have that there was an ongoing recruitment of 2021 batch. So, based on that, we capitalised on that, that we are going to be communicated with on our postings together.

“So, we were convinced because I know one of them, I think the Secretary to the Taraba Commissioner, so we know that they have been communicated with and with documentation.

Speaking on how he got to know Haruna Kolo, Abdulmalik said: “I get to know Kolo through the driver of Taraba Commissioner.

“I transferred a million Naira to Kolo’s account on the arrangement that, because I was told that, the monthly pay is about N140,000 or N130,000.

“So, we agreed on N1.5million with driver first.

“We bargained with the driver on behalf of Kolo. His name is Yusha’u Gambo.

The witness, however, said he had never had any interaction with any Commissioner or Chairman of the Commission regarding payment of money or paid to any of them in the course of the job racketeering.

FCC Chairman’s response to allegations

Interrogating him, the Chairman of the Committee, asked Abdulmalik if he had any personal transaction either in private, cash or transfer with any Commissioners of the Commission or the Chairman of the Federal Character Commission.

The Chairman of FCC said: “At any point did Kolo tell you he was collecting the money on behalf of the Commissioners or the Chairman of the Commission?

In response, Abdulmalik said he didn’t.

Abdulmalik further speaking, said that the Secretary human Resources in the Federal Character Commission invited them to come with their credentials and report to the headquarters, in Abuja.

“The Commission did not come to us, we went to them not knowing that, they were preparing themselves against us.

“Then, the Commission had to write to other institutions or whatever. Because the HR confirmed to us that, our appointments are genuine because they are from the Chairman.

“They cleverly took our appointment letters from us, and they promised to regularise us .

“So, on that basis, we got the development about this investigation,” said the victim.

However,  the Chairman of the House Committee while giving his remark on the absence of Haruna Kolo, the Chairman said, Haruna Kolo, the Secretary to Taraba State Commissioner and his driver should appear before the committee Wednesday, August 9, 2023.

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