Posted by News Express | 10 May 2021 | 917 times
Controversy over last week’s suspension of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Hadiza Bala-Usman took another turn yesterday, Sunday, May 9, 2021, with some Federal Government officers alleging that the action did not follow due process.
Ms Bala-Usman was on Thursday asked to “step aside” from office to pave the way for investigation into some of her activities in office.
She is accused of various infractions, including under remittance into the Consolidation Revenue Account.
Her suspension from office is believed to have been orchestrated by Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, whose ministry supervises NPA.
According to a report in today’s edition of The Nation, “Last night, some government officers alleged the violation of a Federal Government extant rule by the minister in advising President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the MD’s suspension.
“According to the proponent of rule violation, the minister side-stepped a May 19, 2020 circular signed by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, which prescribed the procedure to be followed to discipline a Chief Executive of a government agency.”
Titled, “Approved disciplinary procedure against Chief Executive Officers of Federal Government parastatals, agencies and departments”, the memo reads: “Government has observed with concern, the arbitrary removal of Chief Executive Officers and its impact on stability and service delivery.
“Accordingly, Mr. President has approved the following streamlined procedure for the discipline of Chief Executive Officers of government parastatals, agencies and departments in accordance with the Public Service Rules (PSR).
“The following procedure shall therefore apply whenever a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is to be subjected to disciplinary action:
“(i) When an act bordering on serious misconduct against a Chief Executive Officer is reported, it shall be the duty of the Supervising Minister through the Permanent Secretary to refer the matter to the Governing Board for necessary action in line with the relevant provisions of the Establishment Act and the principles guiding Chapters 3 and 16 of the Public Service Rules;
“(ii) The Board shall in line with due process issue him or her query requesting an explanation with respect to the specific act(s) complained about;
“(iii) The Board shall forward its findings and recommendations to the Minister for further consideration and necessary action; (iv)In the event that the Governing Board is the initiator of the report on the alleged serious misconduct, the Minister on the advice of the Permanent Secretary ensures that sub-paragraphs (ii) and (iii) above have been complied with fully;
“(v) Where the Chief Executive Officer is also the chairman of the board, the Minister, on the advice of the Permanent Secretary, shall apply the principles under sub-paragraph (ii) above;
“(vi) The Minister, after due consideration of the submission from the board, shall on the advice of the Permanent Secretary, forward the ministry’s position along with the recommendations of the board and the explanation of the Chief Executive Officer to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) for processing to Mr. President, for a decision;
“Upon receipt of the submission from the Minister, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) shall without delay cause an independent investigation and advise Mr. President on the appropriate course of action, including interdiction or suspension in accordance with the principles guiding Sections 030405 and 030406 of the Public Service Rules, pending the outcome of the independent investigations;
“It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to further advise Mr. President on the next course of action, based on the outcome of the final investigation;
“In the absence of a board, the Minister shall, with the support of the Permanent Secretary, function in that capacity in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Administrative Guidelines; and
“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) shall implement and/ or convey the approval and directives of Mr. President on every disciplinary case against Chief Executive Officers in the Public Service.
“Without prejudice to the content, it is expected that this circular should be acted upon conjunctively with the provisions of the following extant Service Wide Circulars and publication:
“Ref. SGF/OP/1/S.3/T.1/132-2nd August, 1999(guidelines on the relationship between parastatals/ State-owned companies and their supervising ministries)
“Ref. SGF/OP/1/S.3/T—23rd November 2017(Re: Procedure for appointing Chief Executives and Heads of Parastatals, Government-owned companies, agencies and institutions)
“Ref. No. SGF.50/S.II/1/C.2/ 268—4th December, 2017(End of tenure processes for Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Directors-General. Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals, agencies, commissions and Government-owned companies and succession guidelines)
Federal Government publication on Guidelines to Administrative Procedures in the Federal Public Service Chapter 7.
“This procedure shall serve as a mandatory guide and all Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and any other public officer in similar supervisory position are enjoined to strictly abide by its content.
“For emphasis, on no account shall a Minister of the Federal Republic unilaterally or arbitrarily remove a serving Chief Executive Officer, without recourse to the procedure contained in this circular.”
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