Three government agencies, the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and the Budget Office, run the risk of being issued with an arrest warrant over failure to appear before the House of Representatives.
Yusuf Gagdi, chairman of the ad hoc committee investigating job racketeering and mismanagement of IPPIS in the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), made the threat to the agencies during a plenary session on Wednesday.
Gagdi said the committee was in a dilemma as to why the IPPIS and the budget office were not present at the meeting, threatening to exercise its constitutional powers if they failed to appear before the panel.
Section 89 (1d) of the Constitution empowers lawmakers to issue a warrant to “compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure”.
The committee subsequently summoned the Accountant-General of the Federation to bring along the IPPIS officer before the committee on Thursday, August 10, 2023, adding that any further attempt to run away would be resisted.
Gagdi also queried why Haruna Kolo, the prime suspect in the Federal Character Commission (FCC) job racketeering saga, did not appear before the committee after he was asked to present himself.
Kolo, a former staff of the FCC alleged that job seekers paid millions of Naira into his personal accounts for him to take to Muheeba Dankaka, chairman of the agency.
Said Gagdi: “I also don’t know why Kolo is not coming back to appear before this committee. He seems to have absconded. I will sign a letter to AMCON to produce Kolo on Thursday.
“It is better he listens to us unless he is acting a script and selling lies to us. He should come so we can interact with him. We owe everybody the duty of care.
“We need him by 10:00 a.m tomorrow, the clerk of the committee should call AMCON on the phone, [and] tell them to produce Kolo or do they know what Kolo is hiding?
“AMCON must come here, we must be accountable to Nigeria”.
Gagdi said the committee would “exercise its constitutional powers” if Kolo failed to appear tomorrow, as he has been accused of working in three different institutions.
Meanwhile, Abdulrman Ibrahim, a witness in the ongoing investigation, Said that commissioners usually got job slots.
Ibrahim, speaking on job racketeering, also faulted claims by some commissioners in the FCC that they had not been given any slot since they were appointed.
Being a beneficiary of the job racketeering scheme himself, and the personal assistant to a commissioner in Taraba, he said, “all the commissioners were given slots”.
Said Ibrahim: “They were given two slots each per state. There was an interview to that effect and other processes followed in 2023. A letter of employment was given to me after the interview”.
On his part, Yisha’u Gambo, a driver to the commissioner representing Taraba, said he collected N2 million for Kolo, which was paid by job seekers.
Disclosed Gambo: “Kolo met me and said I should talk to people that need employment so that he could talk to them. Then he called me to bring one person and I said there are many that have been talking to him that they are willing to buy slots.
“After a month, Kolo called me and said that there is another slot for N1.5 million”.