Some commissioners of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) have accused Muheeba Dankaka, the executive chairperson, of highhandedness and job racketeering.
The commissioners made the allegations on Wednesday when they appeared before the house of representatives ad hoc committee investigating ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs), parastatals, and tertiary institutions on personal recruitment, employment racketeering, and the mismanagement of the integrated payroll and personnel information system (IPPIS).
TheCable had reported how Dankaka was summoned to appear before the committee after some commissioners told the lawmakers that she was feigning to be ill to avoid honouring the legislators’ invitation.
At the investigative hearing on Wednesday, federal commissioners who were in attendance accused Dankaka of running the commission aground in gross violation of the FCC enabling act.
Nwokocha Onyekachi, the commissioner representing Rivers, told the committee that the commission is “dysfunctional”.
Asked by Yusuf Gagdi, chairperson of the committee, to be mindful of his language, Onyekachi maintained that the majority of the commissioners are excluded from the commission’s day-to-day operations.
Onyekachi said Dankaka runs the commission like a “sole administrator” and makes decisions independently without compliance with the provisions of the FCC act which require resolutions to be passed in a plenary involving all the commissioners.
“We do not have a functional commission. No state has the opportunity to see how their states fare which is the objective of constituting a full commission with representatives from all the states of the federation,” he said.
“Everything in the commission is run under the table and with serious opaqueness. No transparency.”
Onyekachi said all efforts to make Dankaka “do the right thing” have yielded no result.
Also speaking, Abdulrazak Adeoye, federal commissioner from Osun, alleged that the FCC chairperson engages in selling job opportunities to individuals and unlawfully halted a legally conducted recruitment when she took over.
“She surreptitiously removed the names of Nigerians from the payroll of FCC and replaced them without the knowledge of most commissioners,” Adeoye claimed.
Adeoye said he and other commissioners campaigning against the alleged illegality in the FCC are known as an “integrity group” and won’t rest till the right thing is done.
“We regard ourselves as an integrity group. We are Nigerians who stand clearly against the illegality of the things that will not help the country as a whole,” he said.
According to Adeoye, several petitions have been written to the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the FCC chairperson but “nothing has come out of the investigation”.
“We wrote a petition in our capacity as commissioners to DSS requesting for a covert investigation into this mess that we are not happy with”, he said, adding that the probe has been “footdragging”.
“There have been several investigations, several allegations against her, and she prevents most of these allegations from being looked into. She is above the law,” Adeoye said.
The commissioners presented documents to the committees to support their claims.
‘CORRUPTION FIGHTING BACK’
While responding, the FCC chairperson said her stance against corruption was the reason the commissioners levied all the allegations against her.
“I now believe the adage that says when you fight corruption, corruption would fight back,” she said.
However, Dankaka did not respond to the specific claims made against her, but instead, told the committee that she was rich before her appointment as the FCC chairperson.
She said the corruption allegations against her were false, noting that the lawmakers have continuously urged her to refrain from swearing as she was testifying under oath.
“I did not come to this place (FCC) to make money but to serve my father’s land,” she said.
“I swear with Almighty God, apart from the oath, I can take an oath with the Quran. Before I came here, I had made my name. I had made my money.
“Before I got to this place (FCC) they were selling slots. The place was like a marketplace. You can find out from people that live in Abuja if I am lying.“
In his ruling, Gagdi said the committee won’t “compromise” the investigation, noting that any official in government agencies, including the anti-corruption bodies found “wanting of employment racketeering” will be made to face the wrath of the law.
“The committee will deep-rootedly investigate. We shall do justice where justice is supposed to be needed,” Gadji said, adding that the lawmakers have “taken cognizance” of the submissions made by the commissioners.
Gagdi asked the FCC chairperson to give a written reply to the accusations by the commissioners against her.
Dankaka is also expected to provide the committee with various documents, including the nominal roll and employment waivers, to the committee on Friday.