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ICPC recovers N325, 000 for Defrauded Job-Seeker

It was incredible excitement for a job-seeker, Innocent Okpanachi, who had been defrauded of his money by a job racketeer when he finally got his money back with the help of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Okpanachi beamed with smiles and his eyes lit up with joy as he received the cash sum of N325, 000.00 which was handed back to him by Mr. Tunji Jabaru of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Unit of ICPC on behalf of the Commission.

One Mohammed Abdullahi Habib posing as a senior officer of the Nigeria Customs Service had collected the said amount of money from Okpanachi; through a third party who is now at large, with the promise to secure a job for him with the Service.

After receiving the money, Habib was alleged to have issued Okpanachi an employment letter with which he approached Customs authorities to verify its authenticity and discovered that it was fake.

Having found out that the appointment letter was not genuine and their go-between had disappeared into thin air, the job seeker tried to get Habib to refund his money for over 4 years without success, he then wrote a petition to ICPC.

The Commission promptly swung into action and investigations revealed that the suspect had indeed fraudulently obtained the money from his victim.

The said amount was recovered from the suspect, Mohammed Habib, and then handed over to the petitioner.

After the handing over ceremony, Mr. Innocent Okpanachi expressed his profound appreciation to the Commission for the assistance he had received.

In his words, “Even though I had lost hope, ICPC did a wonderful job of ensuring that justice was restored”.

Mrs. Rasheedat A. Okoduwa,

Spokesperson for the Commission

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Group Raises Alarm over Threat to Whistleblower Policy
….AFRICMIL worried over sack of whistle blower by FMBN, failure to reinstate another by Foreign Affairs Ministry

The Africa Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), a civil society organization working on building support for the whistle-blower policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria, is deeply worried over recent news of the sack of another whistle blower by yet another agency of the federal government, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN. “The sack of Murtala Ibrahim, an auditor in the bank, for blowing the whistle and refusing to cover up a contract scam and manufactured financial report of the bank, is yet another slap on the government’s whistle blower policy,” AFRICMIL said in a statement.

Co-ordinator of AFRICMIL, Chido Onumah, said the sack of Mr. Ibrahim “is one case too many coming at a time when another whistle blower, Mr. Ntia Thompson, is still battling for reinstatement several months after his sack and over two months since his recommended reinstatement by the Head of Service of the Federation”. The statement frowned at what it called obvious witch-hunt of the whistle blower by transferring him from the headquarters to a branch in one of the States and then following up with a query “which cautioned him for doing his official work, and when they couldn’t fault his explanation the bank went on to dismiss Mr. Ibrahim for the ridiculous reason that his service was no longer needed”.

AFRICMIL demands immediate reinstatement of the whistle blower while urging Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works, Power and Housing, whose Ministry oversees the bank, to order a thorough investigation of the scandal.

On the case of Mr. Thompson, AFRICMIL noted that two separate letters from the Office of the Head of Civil of the Federation (OHCSF) signed by Mrs. Nuratu Batagarawa, Permanent Secretary, Service Policies and Strategies Office, were addressed to Ambassador Sola Enikanolaye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking him to take urgent action on the whistleblower’s case.

The organization expressed regret over failure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to comply with the directive of the OHCSF requesting that Mr. Thompson be recalled and all disciplinary procedures suspended pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation of the case of fraud at the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

“The last letter, dated April 5, 2017,” Onumah observed, “made it clear to Ambassador Enikanolaye that by the provisions of the Public Service Rules (PSR), the offences alleged to have been committed by Mr. Thompson were not punishable by retirement from service.” AFRICMIL unreservedly extends gratitude to the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation for promptly wading into the matter by calling for the immediate reinstatement of Mr. Thompson and reiterating its commitment to safeguarding the policy of government on the protection of whistleblowers by directing its full implementation by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

“We hereby call on the federal government to take decisive action on safety of whistle blowers. If government cannot protect internal whistle blowers what more can be expected for outsiders and other Nigerians? “Instead of persecution or victimization, whistle blowers like Mr. Thompson and Ibrahim ought to be rewarded for their acts of patriotism,” Onumah stated.

Chido Onumah
Co-ordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL).

 

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