VICTIM OF CONSCIENCE: WHISTLE BLOWER’S JOB TERMINATED DUE TO REPORTING CORRUPTION IN DEFUNCT POWER HOLDING COMPANY OF NIGERIA.

Secret Reporters

We subconsciously shut up from speaking out against the wrong things around us, because our righteous acts could land us in an abyss of trouble, and we will be persecuted by the same people we are fighting for or protecting.

In Nigeria one is trained to shut his eyes from things happening around him, as a word about it could get one into trouble, despite being in the right.

For Mr. C. O Agbikimi, it is a case of being repaid his good with evil, which led to an abrupt termination of his employment.

Recently, a cry for help reached Secret Reporters from Mr. C. O. Agbikimi a former worker in the now defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, who was on a salary level of G/L10 for dare reporting the corruption activities perpetrated by officials in the organization.

From the letter sent to Secret Reporters,  Mr. Agbikimi says that ‘’My appointment wrongfully terminated by the defunct PHCN management in the year 2004 on grounds of an alleged case of General Inefficiency without a single query/warning memo previously served on me earlier as a prerequisite for the issuance of the termination letter, contrary to both the PHCN Condition of Service and the Public Service Rules.’’

This happened as a result of the whistle he blew in 2002. Prior to his job termination, he was on substantive Salary Grade Level (G/L10) effective from November, 1996 while Acting on (G/L12) as a Computer Centre Manager.

He appealed the termination at the Sixth Assembly of the House of Representatives which investigated the matter. Based on the merit of the case, NASS came up with a resolution on 19th November, 2008; that his appointment be reinstated and his entitlements paid.

Again the Eight Assembly re-affirmed the earlier position of the Sixth Session in its plenary of 17th November, 2016. Having earlier approached the Public Complaints Commission and the Code of Conduct bureau that turned helpless on the matter up until the moment of sending this complaint.

‘’When the members of the House of Representatives came to the realization that my refusal as Head of the then NEPA Computer Centre at Aba to accept the supply of fake computer parts from a contractor for the purpose of upgrade of the Computer Hardware was the remote cause of my job termination. I was not recalled to my job by the PHCN management until August, 2010 without conceding paying me the corresponding full entitlements due to me. Including release of my G/L12 confirmation earned. I subsequently brought the attention of the previous two successive former Hon. Ministers of Power to the partial implementations of the NASS resolutions.’’

‘’The Hon. Ministers respectively issued five distinct explicit memos including directives for me to be placed at par with my peers in tandem with the Public Service Rule in the Federal Parastatals among others. The orders from these two distinct Hon. Ministers and their respective Permanent Secretaries were equally ignored or neglected; resulting to my short payment in the severance benefits and other payments made to staff of the PHCN/TCN nationwide by the BPE.’’

‘’To assuage my plight, I further approached the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), the Eight Assembly of the House of Representatives, SSAEAC (Staff Union) and lastly, SERVICOM trusting that their standpoint on the matter will end my travail but all is to no avail.’’

Memos sent for execution on the matter by these constituted bodies; the AGF, NASS, OHCSF, SSAEAC & SERVICOM respectively had since been delivered to the BPE, NELMCO and the Ministry of Power but no positive steps taken to get his payments settled without  cogent reason offered.

‘’This presupposes a perpetual punishment forcefully imposed on me for the alarm I raised since in 2002 and my refusal to accept fake computer parts.’’

His request for instatement was denied despite the valid orders contained in the memos from the top authorities, which he forwarded to them.

It is shocking that most of the officials in the Ministry of Power are head bent on denying his claims.

Mr Agbikim adds that in 2013 they connived with Mrs P. N. Ndekwu GM(HRM) and other PHCN management staff, initiated and supervised the arbitrary sharing of official PHCN vehicles and a hasty recall of a good number of alleged fraudulent staff of PHCN earlier exited. These happened under very dubious circumstances at the twilight of paying the PHCN/TCN staff severance benefits by the Government Power Reform Program partly for agreed fees as purportedly stated amongst CHQ staff of PHCN.

This group of staff include but not limited to Mr A. M. Ajonibode; Mr. Chibike Nwogu; Mr Haruna Adamu; Mr. Niyi P; Mr Awosika and Mr. Awodeyi. Whose alleged guilt revolves around financial misappropriation/ racket. Include receiving double salaries from the same PHCN on monthly basis for over two years before the scam got exposed in the year 2012.

Contrary to both the PHCN Condition of Service Section 4.1.5.1(2010 edition) and the Public Service Rules, none of these staff was interdicted or suspended from office while they were being investigated by the Ad-hoc panels’ setup to try their cases.

Due to the flawed reinstatement of these earlier disengaged staff resulted to loss of not less than a Billion of naira by the government on paying both their full arrears of salaries on recall and the ensuing severance benefits on the liquidation of PHCN with their full pension in place without any form of reprimand meted to the alleged cheats.

Mr Agbikim vows to provide details of these facts whenever he is called to do so. He adds that ‘’It is noteworthy that I was not dismissed from my PHCN job. There is no similarity between Termination of Appointment in Section 4.1.9 and Leave of Absence in Section 6 of the PHCN Condition of Service. The Public Petitions Committee of the House of Representatives of the Eight National Assembly neither dismissed my matter before it nor deferred its decision from 25th May, 2016 to any other day. Suggestively, the shift gave room for the House Committee to be compromised to resolve the case in my favour.’’

‘’According to the official memo sent by the Ministry of Power to the current Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing. Thereby cajoled or induced the Honourable Minister to decline the assent affirming my payments in agreement with the early memos. These memos include orders from the previous two consecutive former Honourable Ministers of Power and their respective Permanent Secretaries.’’

‘’From the above in my humble opinion, it becomes clear that these MDAs officials are out to make me a scapegoat for no just cause. It may be safe to conclude that these acts of the officers that are involved in disobeying official instructions on this matter are clear infractions against either in all or some of the following Public Service Rules 030301 (d, h, m & o) and 030402 (a, b, f, k, l, m & r) 2008 edition; which I strongly believe all with the right conscience will support, defend and uphold not minding who may be involved; if only, for the integrity and sanctity of the OHCSF, Justice Ministry, SERVICOM, NASS. Above all, these bodies as constituted organs of government where subordinates take superior orders in high esteem.’’

From his petition, Mr Agbikim seeks for the following redress;

Therefore, with my paragraph 2 above in consonance with the early Ministerial directives on the matter along with the explicit memo of the OHCSF stated in my paragraphs 8 & 11, the Ministry of Power, being the regulatory/supervisory body of PHCN & NELMCO under whose watch the entire epistle narrated here played out, be required to initiate and direct the payment of my entitlements due to me as listed below:

  •  NELMCO being an Agency of government created for the sole purpose of catering for envisaged stranded Assets/Liabilities of PHCN on defunct is instructed to pay me the pending sum of ₦4, 266,792.18. From the initial total sum of N16, 745,655.02 (see pages 10a & 10b) earlier computed, audited/approved and conveyed to it for payment by PHCN management in year 2013. Being the short-payment of my old salaries (G/L10) arrears earlier denied. Contrary to the directives of the then Hon. Ministers of Power and the House of Representatives as re-echoed by the OHCSF memo ef: HCSF/CMO/EM/CPA023/I/65 dated 12th August 2016; pages 8a & 8b
  • BPE management should be enjoined to properly re-compute my severance benefits on Salary G/L15 in line with the early orders of the then Hon. Ministers of Power shown in my pages 6c, 6d & 6e and the House of Representatives as re-echoed by the OHCSF memo in page 8a and reiterated as aptly sent in its latest mail seen in my page 8b.
  • NELMCO management should be instructed to pay the equal salary difference between my old salary G/L10 and the proper salary G/L15 which by extant rules of the Public Service Rules came into effect July, 2010 prior to the liquidation of the PHCN in November, 2013 as a functional and legal entity.
  • NELMCO should be directed to pay to me the sum of N686, 361.00. Being difference in the under payment on my transfer to the PHCN Corporate Headquarters on recall in August 2010 (pages 11a & 11b).
  • NELMCO should be charged to pay to me the sum of N116, 433.00. Being my unpaid Disturbance Allowance as claimed by PHCN memo shown in my pages 10a & 11c on my transfer to the PHCN Corporate Headquarters on recall.
  • In line with PHCN Condition of Service section 6.1.6 (2010 edition) “COMMUTATION OF LEAVE TO CASH” joined with the PHCN management memo to me captioned “2010 ANNUAL LEAVE” (page 11d), NELMCO should be enjoined to pay me the sum of N752, 885.00. Being my unspent leave from 2002 thru 2010 I was forcefully exited from my job; resulted to my denial to observe my annual leave like my peers.

 

 

vii. In tone with the PHCN management memo in my page 12a; it is only natural and reasonable for my monthly salary to be paid by NELMCO at this instance as explicitly stated by the Ag. MD/CEO PHCN in his memo under reference here, pending when BPE pays the balance major amount of my severance benefits (on the basis I was earlier paid for Nov/Dec 2013 & Jan/Feb. 2014) resulted from the wilful refusal by all concerned in early Ministerial directives to effect correction on the wrong placement of my salary grade level before now.

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