Probe Hos over stalled selection of Substantive Accountant-General, Transparency Group tells Buhari - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Probe Hos over stalled selection of Substantive Accountant-General, Transparency Group tells Buhari

A group under the aegis of Transparency and Open Policy Initiative group, National Intervention Group of Nigeria(NIGN) yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency ,  institute a probe into 
the activities of the Head of Service, Folashade Mejabio Yemi-Esan and the Acting Accountant-General of the Federation, Okolie-eboh Sylva.

According to the group, it has become imperative for President Buhari to carry out the holistic investigation over their alleged attempt to deliberately stall the current appointment and selection  process of a new substantive Accountant-General of the Federation.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the  Coordinator, National Intervention Group of Nigeria(NIGN), Akinloye Oyeniyi explained that he was shocked to find out that 5 months after a Presidential directive was set in motion for the appointment of a new Accountant General of the Federation, the process is allegedly being undermined by the Head of Service and other persons in her office.

According to him, even  though 8 qualified Directors (Accountants) on Grade level 17 in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation have been interviewed and screened for the job, the new plans being allegedly proposed by the Head of Service(HoS) to extend the selection process to the first quarter of next year arouse suspicion and quiet disturbing. 

Oyeniyi noted that the  move by the HoS may not be far from trying to sneak in new candidates who did not participate in the stalled exercise and also keep the current holder of the office, Okolie-eboh Sylva even though he is due for retirement in charge in acting capacity until the first quarter of 2023.

The NIGN Coordinator said that the President should take keen interest in the activities of the HoS in the light of her recent intervention that allowed the outgoing Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Olatunde Ojo to retain his office while proceeding on his retirement leave. 

Oyeniyi also asked the President Buhari to conduct a similar probe into the activities of Sylva as they relate to the selection process for a substantive Accountant-General, adding, "It is also suspicious that the Minister manning the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms Zainab Ahmed, who announced the appointment of Anamekwe Nwabuoku to oversee the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, following the suspension of Ahmed Idris, on alleged charges of Corruption, has been very quiet on the current mess surrounding the appointment of substantive Accountant-General of the Federation. 

"It is on these premises and many More that we have been calling on Mr. President to not at this critical hour forget his government's anti-corruption mantra by disregarding in its entirety, the Head of Service of the Federation's latest request and appoint a substantive Accountant-General of the Federation from the pool of the qualified candidates already screened. We also call on Mr. President to probe the latest activities of the Head of Service of the Federation, that of the acting Accountant-General of the Federation and other conspirators, as regards this selection process."

The transparency and accountability driven Civil Society Organization(CSOs) subsequently called on President Buhari not to relent on his anti-corruption drive at this time by ensuring that he stops the Head of Service from stalling the appointment process he  started since last June.

He said, "You will recall our widely-reported open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari sometimes last week calling on Mr. President to conclude the now stalled process of appointment of a substantive Accountant-General of the Federation in the interest of our dear country, Nigeria, her smooth running, integrity of the anti-corruption drive of ther Adkerooverment and supremacy of Section 1(2) 

of the 1999 Constitution. 

"It is a thing of great concern that a process that commenced pursuant to the President's directive conveyed through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on 16th June, 2022, has now been subjected to the authority and whims and caprices of the Head of Service of the Federation. 

"You will all recall that in line with the President's directive, a service-wide circular was issued inviting eligible directors (accountants) on Grade Level 17 in the pool of Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to apply following certain criteria and that at the close of submission of applications and security clearance by relevant security agencies, about eight aspiring directors scaled through. 

"Ordinarily, it is expected that the process will move to the next stage but we learnt the Head of Service of the Federation, in gross disregard for that presidential directive, oath of allegiance and the subsisting criteria for selection, proposed that the process be extended to the first quarter of 2023 to accommodate an interest who could not apply due to one of the criteria; and to also allow the director currently overseeing the exalted office, Mr. Okolieaboh Sylva, who is due for retirement, to be appointed in acting position for that office till that first quarter. 

"You will also recall that this same Acting Accountant General, Okolieboh Sylva, was recently under fire over unremitted charges deducted from Remitta payment platform into the Federation Account, during his appearance before the Senate Committee on Finance to defend the budget of the office. This same man who till now is unable to provide satisfactory answers to questions raised by lawmakers about the disbursements and utilization of the billions of naira allegedly raised through the payment platform is who the Head of Service of the Federation is labouring hard to keep in that same unofficial acting capacity to pave way for another stooge to take over. 

"It is pertinent to say here also that the Outgoing Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr. Olatunde Ojo, is set to spend his three months’ pre-retirement Leave in office following the intervention of the same Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, in defiance of the Public Service Rule (PSR) 100238 which states: 

“Officers are required to give three months notice to retire from service before the effective date of retirement. At the commencement of the three months, officers should proceed immediately on the compulsory one month preretirement, workshop/seminar".

"The Clerk, who is supposed to commence his mandatory three months Pre-retirement Leave on Monday November 14, preparatory to his final exit from office on February 14, 2023, when he would have attained the retirement age of 60 years, will be in office till that same last day because of an embarrassing manipulation of rules. 

Source: Vanguard

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