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Victims Paid N250,000 Each For Government Jobs

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | 4/24/2013 10:11:00 am

Two whistle-blowers appeared before the Senate in Abuja yesterday and admitted paying N250,000 each to secure appointments in the Ministries of Lands and Housing, Information, Works, Trade and Investment, aided principally by staff of the federal agencies.

Mrs. Rose Nkarishor Odey and Idachaba Tijani told the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs that the job-for-sale racket was being allegedly spearheaded by one Juliet Egobunor and Simon Odujebe.

The duo claimed to work for the Ministry of Lands and Housing from where they fleeced nnocent Nigerians of N250,000 each with the promise of employment in any federal ministry.

In the letter before the committee, titled: Petition against Juliet Egobunor and Simon Odujebe for issuing me fake appointment letter for N250,000, dated March 25, 2013, Odey tendered an Offer of Temporary Appointment letter purportedly issued on the letter head of the Federal Civil Service Commission, dated September 5, 2007 with Ref No: FC.7000/C.4261/19. The said appointment letter, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Sun, signed by one Ahmed S. Dantanko offered Odey, whose address was stated as 16, Bolarinwa Street, Molete, Ibadan, Oyo State, was appointed as Administrative Officer II on salary Grade Level 08, Step 02 which is N164,272.00 per annum.

Odey’s appointment, as with many others in various ministries, was equally captured in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Gazette Section of October 18, 2011.

Besides, Odey attached a circular, which allegedly emanated from the Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation marked: HCSF/PSO/002/S.I/Tiii of January 25,2012 which “approved the posting of newly-appointed/transferred Administrative Officers into the Federal Civil Service as in the attached format…

“The postings are with immediate effect and all officers are to report not later than Friday, February 2012.” One Mrs. Kehinde Ajoni, Permanent Secretary (CMO), reportedly signed the circular on behalf of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

But Odey admitted before the committee yesterday that she was given the appointment in April, 2012 and could not explain why the letter given her by Juliet read September, 2007. In her testimony before the committee, an obviously Mrs. Odey carefully detailed how the deal was struck in the house of her sister, Martina, and how for eight months she worked without any salary.

Odey was initially given an employment letter for the Ministry of Information before she was “transferred” to the Trade and Investment Ministry. That was where the illegal transactions were exposed. All efforts to retrieve her N250,000 has since failed.

The racket blew open when she went for registration in the ministry and it was discovered that she shared the same employment number with two other men! The racketeers then offered her another slot.

Tijani was not so lucky. He worked for only some months before he was apprehended as a fake staff of the Works Ministry.

Quickly, Tijani demanded a refund but has only succeeded in getting N100,000 back from Egobunor and Odujebe.

When it was his turn to testify , Tijani, who wore white buba and sokoto and for the most part of the confession kept his head bowed, re-echoed the employment story of Mrs. Odey.

He was, however, lucky because he has, so far, managed to evade arrest and was also able to retrieve N100,000 from the N250,000 he paid to the job racketeers.

Tijani’s words: “I met Egobunor who I offered N250,000 for employment. After that, I was posted to the Ministry of Works in April 2012 and my appointment letter was duly signed. From there, I was posted to a department in the ministry.

“On May 30, I was apprehended because the documents regarding my appointment were fake and I was asked where the documents were from. I cooperated fully with them and told them who gave me the appointment letter.

“I was thereafter taken to the Ministry of Lands and Housing to confront Juliet but before we got there, she had left office. I was asked to go for that day and report back the following day but I didn’t go back as asked, because I was afraid of being arrested.

“Somehow, I met Egobunor and demanded for a refund and she sent me to Simon Odujebe who told me categorically that a refund was not easy but instead, offered to take me to a new ministry. I refused that offer and we ended up bargaining for how much to get back from the initial N250,000 I had paid. I was offered 60 per cent of the N250,000, but I demanded for 80 per cent instead because I just wanted my money at that point. In November, I was given N100,000 and I was supposed to have been reimbursed another N50,000 which I have not got till date. Odujebe sent a text message to me, promising to refund the N50,000 and the message is still in my phone as I speak before you…

“That is why I came here with my petition, hoping that something will be done…”

On cross-examination from the co-Chairman of the committee, Senator Wilson Ake, how he, Tijani, came about the appointment letter which read 2007 instead of 2012, Tijani replied: “I don’t know why they gave me an appointment letter reading 2007 when I was employed in April 2012… I don’t know why they did all these because I have no experience in civil service. I cannot explain the discrepancies.”

Ake asked Tijani whether he signed any acknowledgement letter from the ministry on his employment to which he simply said: No.

He said that Egobunor only gave him some letters purportedly for his employment.

In attendance was the Deaconess Tolani Ayo, Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), who asked for time to investigate the authenticity of the letter cum circular bandied by Mrs. Odey.

The Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta-led joint committee demanded the FCSC chairman return today with more evidence. The public hearing continues today.
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