Massive Fraud in Akwa Ibom State Information Ministry under Charles Udoh?
•••State government in secret recruitment into state civil service
•••Over 50 employed in Ikot Osurua polytechnic on the recommendation of First Lady
By Bassey Udofia
The Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Information under the leadership of Mr Charles Udoh, stinks and this is authoritative.
In the last 72 hrs, the unprofessional conducts of the man currently calling the shots in the once vibrant and pro-active ministry, had taken the centre stage in public discuss, particularly, on the pages of local newspapers in the state.
However, information pieced together by the Peesreporters.com reveals a whole lot of scam, and fraudulent activities under the watch of a Lagos returnee, Charles Udoh.
According to a source, inside the State Executive Council, who pleaded anonymity, ” the Ministry of lnformation as currently administered is a huge disappointment under Charles Udoh. If something urgently is not done about it, the state governor, would be in a very great mess after leaving office.”
Peesreporters.com, also learnt that monies for projects duly approved by the governor for disbursement, were never given to the beneficiaries, hence no evidence of receipts of retirements, which is against civil service practice.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that in the last couple of weeks, specifically, after the dissolution of the last Exco, books in the ministry were opened up for scrutiny to ascertain compliance with civil service rules. What they saw according to our source, was despicable to say the least. Core civil service rules and regulations were jettisoned for personal aggrandisement.
Contracts were awarded and payments made without the statutory involvement of the civil servants as required by the law. Contractors merely walked into the ministry, submitted their proposals and payment made.
Information also gathered by peesreporters.com, revealed that some senior officers of the ministry had been coerced to straighten the contract papers, payment vouchers and retirement papers, inorder to save the government from being questioned in the future.
It was also gathered that, a whopping sum of NI billion was approved for the Dakadda project of the government and payment made to U&U in three tranches, N500m, N300m and N200m, with no sign of a document to show how it was retired, safe for a letter from the Consultants indicating receipt of the said amount.
On this, Senior officers of the ministry are currently generating relevant papers to cover up for the abuse of due process. Known civil service rules were ignored during the payment for work done by U&U, peesreporters.com was told in confidence.
Specifically, payments for the repositioning of the Pioneer Newspaper, AKBC and other parastatals under the Information Ministry, were released as approved by the governor but found a resting place in private pockets. Similarly, funds that were duly approved by the government for the Nigeria Guild of Editors and Insurance project for Akwa Ibom State based Journalists, have since left the ministry’s treasury and yet to arrive its envisaged destination.
These are issues Charles Udoh should come out to debunk or deny.
In another development, painstaking investigation by our correspondent in the state revealed that, contrary to the public statement credited to the state government, placing embargo on employment into the civil service, people with strong links to those in power, are being secretly engaged depending on who signed the letter of recommendation.
Akwa Ibom indigenes with links to powerful individuals in the state are now being daily recruited into the already over bloated civil service, without due process. The ministries where these employees are being seen on a daily basis are, Information, Finance and Works.
The First Lady was said to have also sent about 50 names to the Polytechnic Ikot Osurua, for immediate appointment, while staffers of the institution, who had been on a temporary engagement over the years, have very slim or no hope of them being engaged permanently due to the First Lady demand for ‘her people’.