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FCSC, OAGF, OHSF, Justice Ministry staff shady deal in  Bola-Audu’s recall to service exposed 

The Federal government public service rules’ stipulations and a letter from the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), have exposed a recent bridge of public service rules in the reinstatement of a public servant, Bola Audu Innocent, a Chief Accountant in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, who is standing a criminal trial on an alleged fraud. Said a civil society group: Anti-Corruption, Good Governance and Human Rights Watch Network (AGHRWN).

AGHRWN in a statement jointly signed its National Coordinator and Secretary, Mallam Muhammed Adamu Usman and Babatunde Adekunle, went further to demand that FCSC, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and Office of the Head of Civil Services of the Federation (OHSF), should explain whether there is new public service rules that now allows a public servant standing trial on charges brought against him or her by the Federal government to be recalled and reinstated into the service.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), has urged the Minister of Justice who is also the Attorney-General of the Federation, to urgently constitute a panel to probe the involvement of the FCSC, OAGF and OHSF in the “shady and scandalous recall” of the public servant. TUC noted that the violation of the public service rules in the act which it said was spare-headed by the Federal Civil Service Commission, was glaring.

In letter dated May 24, 2024, titled: “Scandalous Recall into Service of Bola-Audu Innocent While His Prosecution by the Federal Republic of Nigeria Through The NAPTIP and the ICPC on Criminal Charges Rages: Request for an Investigation,” addressed to the Minister of Justice who is also the Attorney General of the Federation,  and signed by TUC’s FCT Council Chairman and Secretary, Comrades Audu Paul Akogwu and Amaoge N. Chukwudi, respectively, in part reads; “For the avoidance of doubt, Bola Audu Innocent, who is a staff the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, is being prosecuted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria: Through the NAPTIP at the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/AB)/CR/704/23 dated 11 May, 2023 on suspected case of Human Trafficking and Exploitation of the vulnerable.

“Bola Audu Innocent was arraigned on Thursday 15th February 2024 by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) on a suit no: FCT/HC/CR/738/23, at the FCT High Court Maitama for alleged fraud. The next adjourned date on this matter is Thursday, June 6, 2024. In view of the above, we wish to request the Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to urgently constitute a panel of enquiry to carry out an in-depth probe.”

A letter from the Federal Civil Service Commission to the Accountant General of the Federation, titled: Recall from Suspension and Reinstatement of Mr. Bola-Audu Innocent, signed by Director Discipline and Appeals, Mr. Mbaike N. Chuks, had earlier directed that Mr. Bola-Audi Innocent be recalled and reinstated with full emoluments he was denied following his suspension.

 The letter in part reads; “I am directed to refer to your letter Ref no. ADM/DISC/05/015/III/280 dated March 8, 2024, entitled ‘Request for Legal Opinion’, and to convey the approval of the Federal Civil Service Commission for the lifting of the suspension and reinstatement of Mr. Bola-Audu Innocent…, Chief Accountant GL.14, to the Service, kindly ensure that all outstanding emoluments denied the officers in consequent of the suspension are restored and paid fully.”

However, AGHRWN earlier in its statement quoted the position of the public service rules in a situation where a public servant is standing trial (the effects of criminal proceedings), said; “Nothing shall prevent disciplinary action being taken or continued against an officer whether or not: criminal proceedings have been instituted with respect to such person in any court of law in Nigeria or elsewhere or are about to be instituted or are contemplated; or the grounds upon which any criminal charges are based or are be based are substantially the same as those upon which the disciplinary proceedings were or are to be instituted.”

But when contacted on the issues, the Chairman Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, among other things said; “In the light of the representations to us by the civil service union and Congress however, I am convening an extraordinary session of the full commission to take advantage of the presence of four Hon. Commissioners who are lawyers, so we can take another look at the subject matter and possibly review our earlier administrative decision.


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