Federal Commissioners nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for reappointment to the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) yesterday told the Senate Committee on Establishment screening them that the fake appointments reported in 2012 were indeed real.
They blamed poor handling of the scandal on the then chairman of the commission, Deaconess Tolani Ayo.
The upper chamber wanted to know what some of the nominees who appeared before its Committee on Establishment for reappointment into the commission knew about the scandal and possibly their roles in the scandal.
The FCSC is an executive body that has the authority to make appointments, transfers and exercise disciplinary control over all federal civil servants.
The Committee took on Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed (Kaduna), Professor Aminu Dio Sheidu (Kogi) and Simon Etim (Akwa Ibom) who were nominated for reappointment into the Commission to tell members what they knew about the fake appointment letters.
Over 80 applicants were reported to have paid as much as N250,000 to secure appointments some of which turned out to be fake.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, described the scandal as a “huge embarrassment to the country that should not have been swept under the carpet.”
Paulker said that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC) that investigated the scandal did not make its report available to his committee.
He noted that the alleged racket was so serious, especially when the seal of the Commission was used by the racketeers.
He said that it was a statement of fact that some of those who got appointment letters started work while “some of them worked for over three months and had to be stopped when the scandal blew open.”
Paulker noted that it was more shocking to discover that some commissioners who served during the period were fingered to have been involved in the deal.
Ibrahim told the committee that the issue came up several times but nobody accepted responsibility.
He said that the commissioner resolved that the issue should be thoroughly investigated hence the invitation of the ICPC to probe the scandal.
Ibrahim said that he was not invited by the ICPC during its investigation.
Sheidu also said that the issue was investigated.
He noted that what actually happened was that “our procedure was not followed by our Chairman, Deaconess Tolani Ayo.”
He said, “At a point in time, the chairman (of the commission) was by-passing the commissioners and was issuing directives to the director of recruitment. On several occasions, some commissioners confronted the chairman.”
Sheidu said that the ICPC invited all of them for questioning as part of the process of their investigation.