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FG sets up panel to probe allegations against NITDA’s chief



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Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu has set up a committee to probe alleged breach of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and financial abuse in the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

The minister was angered by the non-adherence to a letter of August 14, 2015, by Dr. Tunji Olaopa, a former permanent secretary, who queried alleged breach of rules by Mr. Peter Jack, NITDA director-general.

Jack was alleged to have  mismanaged state funds running into hundreds of millions of naira and breached civil service rules.

A source close to the minister said a petition by Information Technology Law Practitioners Association of Nigeria, signed by its President, Fredrick Uyabeme and Secretary Olumide Aboyade-Cole, accused the director-general of fraud and administrative impunity in its six-page memorandum on NITDA and annexure attached as exhibits 1-12.

The petition was also sent to the anti-graft agencies.

Olaopa, in the letter to Jack, titled: “Reported Breaches in NITDA”,  “It has come to my attention that there are several anomalies in your agency, which touch on the following: breach of public service rules pertaining to recruitment and secondment of staff; breaches of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and non-implementation of board directives as well as failure to seek approval of the ministry in absence of a board.

“I have also been inundated with news of your invitation to answer to sundry queries for breaches, yet you have not deemed it fit to update me on issues so I can appraise our principal as required. Notwithstanding the foregoing, I am directing that you reverse all recruitment and secondment implemented without the approval of your board.

“You are to also ensure that all procurement processes are implemented with strict adherence to the Public Procurement Act 2007; and furthermore, I am reminding you that the absence of a board does not confer the liberty to breach the NITDA Act nor the Public Service rules.

“You are required to comply with the letters and spirit of the circular of July 16, 2015, on matters that would normally require the attention of the NITDA board.”

But the minister was worried that months after the letter was issued by the former permanent secretary, “the director-general continues to treat the matter with disdain”.

This attitude informed the minister’s resolve to set up a ministerial committee headed by the Director, Research and Statistics to probe the matter.

The committee is expected to submit its report this week