The putrid stench from revelations at a House of Representatives committee keeps reeking just with one, yet not-so-lucrative federal agency. Imaginations are running wild on what happens, if the lid on job racketeering in other agencies are opened up.
Haruna Kolo, the man at the centre of the revelations, had on Monday spilled his own beans, implicating the embattled Chair of the FCC, Muheeba Farida Dankaka, of been the alleged receiver of the bribes he warehoused in his own bank account for her. He alleged he always paid her in cash, though she denied the allegations.
On Tuesday, Ali Yaro from Borno State claims he rejected an offer to join insurgent Boko Haram group, paid a N2 million bribe to get a job with the Federal Character Commission (FCC) only for it to turn out to be a scam!
He was emotional as he spoke: “I graduated 11 years ago and I had a chance to become Boko Haram but I refused because I wanted to be a good citizen.”
“I paid N2 million into Badamasi Jalo’s account, another victim but acting as agent for collection of monies for Kolo.
“Kolo and Badamasi both assured me that I will get appointment letter in January,” he said, adding that he was captured on IPPIS on Aug. 5, 2021, but never got placement.
To this, Rep Yusuf Gagdi, the Chairman of the investigating House committee said his testimony and that of another should encourage all Nigerians who have been shortchanged to appear.
“I am very happy that you said you had the offer to become a Boko Haram but refused.
”We cannot cry like you but our hearts bleed for this country, we are going to do justice for you, we are not here to witch lhunt anybody.
Messrs Abdulamalik Ahmed and Ali Yaro victims of alleged job racketeering at the Federal Character Commission (FCC) claimed they paid N1 million and N2 million respectively for job placement in the commission.
The witnesses at the ongoing investigation by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee probing job racketeering and mismanagement of IPPIS in Abuja on Tuesday lamented their pathetic ordeal.
Ahmed, from Adamawa, narrated how he side-stepped the driver of the Commissioner, representing Taraba, Mr Yisha’u Gambo who promised to get him a job in the FCC on the condition that he paid the sum of N1 million.
He refused to pay the money to Yisha’u opting for a senior officer.
“It was Yisha’u who introduced Mr Harunu Kolo, a former staff of the FCC and the desk officer of IPPIS in the commission.
“I paid N1 million into Kolo’s account when I confirmed that he was a staff of the commission, I refused to pay to the driver for security reasons.
“I transfered N1 million to Kolo’s account. We initially agreed on N1.5million with Gambo, a driver to the Commissioner, representing Taraba.”
According to him, 27 of them were issued appointment letters having paid the requested money, adding that in spite of the fact that appointment letters were issued, they were not posted to any designated MDAs.
“The Head of Human Resources in FCC confirmed to us that our appointments were genuine before they cleverly took it from us. I was engaged for two years before I was disengaged without posting.”
But it was a false claim. Also, he said, FCC disclosed that there was no recruitment since 2017, there was recruitment in 2021 and all the commissioners had a hand in the recruitments exercise.
“Kolo convinced me to pay so that our employment can come after that of Directors and the Commissioners.”
The ad-hoc committee chairman, Gagdi said, “You have told us who you gave money to. We will invite you again for a closed-door meeting with the other 27 victims.”
He re-invited Kolo to again appear before the committee on Wednesday by 10 a. m.
He also summoned the driver to the Taraba Commissioner and the Secretary to appear before the committee.
Kolo had alleged that job seekers paid millions of naira to his personal account for transmission to the Chairman, Mrs. Dankaka.
He told Committee probing job racketeering in Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of Government; that he usually approached the Point of Sale Service (POS) agents to collect the money in cash to deliver to the chairman.
Kolo, now with the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), said Dankaka appointed him as her chief protocol, while serving in FCC.
He said some of those who came to seek for job in the commission paid between one million to five million naira depending on the MDAs, adding he never sold jobs but acted on the instruction of Dankaka who was always receiving the money in cash.
“She often gives me verbal instruction in respect of people paying for jobs and lodgment after the collection of the agreed amount.
“The money is always sent to my account which I subsequently cashed to remit in cash….
”My going to AMCON was her personal favour to me and others that left FCC at the time,” he said.
He, however, accused the chairman of going after him, when her sister was rejected at AMCON due to age factor.
He alleged threats to his life through threat calls on his phone line.
Kolo also said contrary to the chairman’s claim that FCC had not carried out recruitment exercise since her assumption of office was not true.
He added that as a desk officer of IPPIS in FCC, the commission carried out recruitment exercise because “I am the desk officer of IPPIS for FCC and over 300 employment letters were issued but those captured by FCC were few.”
Chairman of the committee told Kolo that the committee was in possession of an evidence that Kolo had N38.5 million in his account, which was withdrew from POS.
He said a total of N75 million was in Kolo’s account in Access Bank, UBA and Eco bank as a proceed of job racketeering
”Kolo was serving as a front for collecting money for job recruitments in the commission as against the service, financial regulation and the extant law.
”The record I have about your account you don’t even have, the record of your service I have. We are not giving any judgment on FCC, we are still investigating.
”This committee will have to be judicial in nature. We knew why we asked Kolo to give us evidence. We must come out straight; we aren’t even talking about racketeering in other MDAs.
“Kolo you are not supposed to leave here without being arrested. As a civil servant, you are not supposed to have such huge amount in your account,” the committee chairman said.
Dankaka, on her part, denied she collected any money from Kolo, getting a copy of Holy Qur’an, swearing ever to have collected any money from Kolo as a proceeds of job racketeering.
“I have never asked him to collect money from job seekers for me,” she said, alleging it was part of the conspiracy of her fellow commissioners to do her in.
Dankaka has been at loggerheads with her colleagues who want her out for inappropriate behaviour, especially corruption.