Your Excellency: The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) by way of the NEITI Act 2007 is the Agency of government responsible for sanitizing the Nigerian oil, gas and Solid Minerals Industries. Unfortunately, it has become a cesspit of corruption, cronyism and fraud.
2. Your Excellency, on the 1st of August 2008, I reported to the Chairman of the NEITI Board that the former Executive Secretary (ES), Mallam Haruna Yinusa Sa'eed was involved in activities that brought the good name of the organization to disrepute (See Exhibit 1). He was investigated and found guilty of the allegations by the Board but the Board took no further action. Instead, I was given a warning for not following Due Process in "blowing the whistle" (See Exhibit 2).
3. Subsequently, the former ES took the inability of the Board to act, for license, by converting the NEITI Secretariat funds into his personal campaign funds for his quest for the Governorship of Kaduna State.
4. Specifically, * The former ES collected double salary from separate NEITI Bank Accounts spanning a period of over 12 months, by collecting a salary from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) grant account and "arrears of salary" from FGN account, for the same period. To date, the overpayments are yet to be refunded (See Exhibit 3).
* The former ES collected Honourarium payments from Government funds for attending events within the office, when government officials are clearly exempt from such payments (See Exhibit 4). The former ES also paid himself and NEITI Board Members Honorarium when attending training programs within Nigeria, over and above their statutory entitlements.
* The former ES paid himself sitting allowances for Board Sub Committee meetings, held at the NEITI office, even though he is not a member of the Committees (See Exhibit 5).
* The former ES frequently and randomly collected advances of N200,000.00 at will as petty cash in excess of his total annual allowance (See Exhibit 6 and Various Accounts/ Petty Cash Records).
* The former ES collected amounts ranging from US$1,000 to US$3,000.00 per trip as contingency for his foreign travels, outside his statutory entitlements, in contravention of FGN rules and he never retired them (See Exhibit 7).
These and numerous other due process and financial recklessness brought NEITI to its knees. Gladly, the appointment of Mrs Zainab Ahmed as the new ES should bring transparency and accountability back to NEITI.
5. Your Excellency, because I reported some of these allegations to the NEITI Board, Mallam Haruna Yinusa Sa'eed promised to deal with me. He proceeded by declaring my position as NEITI Director (Services) vacant and advertised my position along with other vacancies. This he did, in spite of my letter of employment and Board confirmation as the substantive Director of Services, overseeing the finance and admin Units (See Exhibit 8).
6. Your Excellency, I wrote a Memo to the former ES dated 23rd July 2009 requesting him to bring the matter of my employment status to the attention of the Board for a decision (See Exhibit 9). I then wrote a Memo to the NEITI Chairman on the 18th of May 2010 (See Exhibit 10). On the 4th of June 2010, I received a letter from the former ES terminating my employment as Director of Services (See Exhibit 11). On the 9th of June 2010, I wrote another letter to the NEITI Chairman (See exhibit 12). On the 25th of June 2010, I got a response from the NEITI Chairman stating that he had met with the former ES and the matter would be resolved amicably to the satisfaction of all concerned (see Exhibit 13). The Board met on the 22nd of July 2010 and again no decision was reached. Instead, approval was given for a letter to be sent employing my replacement, without first determining my employment status.
7. Your Excellency, the NEITI Board just concluded an employment exercise for over 54 positions at the NEITI Secretariat. The former ES for no reason fired one of the recruitment consultants and went on to manipulate the entire selection process. The NEITI Board tried to stand up to the former ES and cancelled the process 3 times but the former ES kept representing the same rejected people. The end result is that selected candidates are not the most suitable for the allotted positions. Of the 12 Directors and Deputy Directors (Team Leaders) selected, only 2 are from the South; 1 from the South-East, none from the South-West and 1 from the South-South; odd for an Agency that regulates the Oil and Gas Industry and derives the bulk of its revenue from that region.
It appears that the NEITI Board Staff Selection Committee Members and the Federal Character Commission (FCC) Representatives that should have ensured a fair national spread of appointments may have been compromised. Honourarium payments budgeted for observers from civil society and other NSWG-Level experts, were diverted to make payments to the NEITI Board Staff Committee Members and Representatives of the FCC for a meeting that lasted for two days. The NEITI Board Staff Committee Members and Representatives of the FCC not only collected sitting allowances each day for the same meeting that spilled over to the next day but also collected money, the equivalent of 5 to 7 days "Honourarium", for this same two day meeting, a practice that is not only illegal but also immoral. (See Exhibit 14).
8. Your Excellency, further to this, and in fulfillment of the former ES's threat to deal with me, he manipulated the set up of a "hatchet" committee to look at procurement processes for training programs in Lagos last year even though NEITI's own Legal Counsel, Bola Ajibola & Co sent a report clarifying this very simple matter. I am aware that this committee intends to use lies, secrecy, misrepresentations and deceit, to achieve its aim; a desperate ruse to tarnish my good name and an attempt to get rid of me to hide the fact that the NEITI Board was simply unable to call the former ES to order.
9. Your Excellency, in spite of your appointment of Mrs Zainab Ahmed as Executive Secretary, the Board has taken the following actions in disregard of your directive,
* Rejected the appointment of Mrs Zainab Ahmed, claiming breach of process.
* Appointed an acting Executive Secretary pending resolution of the breach of process and in turn, breaching FGN rules, as their appointee is a Junior Logistics Officer in an office with existing Senior Directors and Deputy Directors.
* The NEITI Part-time, Non-Executive Chairman made himself an account signatory to FGN/ NEITI Accounts in breach of FGN rules, even after the SGF had warned him not to do so. An offence punishable by law.
10. Your Excellency, as the pioneer staff at the inception of NEITI in 2004, I worked with Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, now Vice president for Africa at the
World Bank, to set up and run an Agency of government that was the envy of every resource rich country in the developing world. In 2007, Nigeria was the world leader in extractive resource transparency. Today, NEITI is about to be ejected from the international EITI body it helped to set up.
11 Your Excellency, you are NEITI's last hope.
Your Excellency, I humbly request you to,
*Do everything possible to empower Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the new ES of NEITIto enable her work to ensure that Nigeria is not ejected from the Global EITI,as this may affect Nigeria's Economic and Oil Transparency Rating.
* Direct that a letter be written on your behalf to Mr. Peter Eigen,Chairman of the International EITI Secretariat in Oslo, Norway, assuring him of Nigeria's commitment to Extractive Resource Transparency.
* Investigate the above allegations of fraud against the former NEITI Executive Secretary, Mr Haruna Yinusa Sa'eed.
* Direct that the NEITI Chairman, a part time, non executive position cannot be a signatory to NEITI Accounts or operate in an executive capacity.
* Reaffirm that in the absence of a substantive "Accounting Officer", the next highest ranking officer should act as Accounting Officer at NEITI.
* Suspend the recruitment of my replacement pending the determination of my employment status as substantive Director (Services), overseeing the Finance and Admin Units.
* Set up a panel to audit the NEITI Staff selection process in light ofnthese weighty and damaging revelations.
* Direct that all NEITI Investigative Committee Reports must reflect the thoroughness and transparency that should be the hallmark of the NEITI and must not be an attempt to silence whistle blowers.
0807 772 2117
NEITI/ PETITIONS/DS/01 10th August 2010
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR
State House, Presidential Villa
Aso Rock, Abuja
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Office of the SGF
Federal Secretariat Abuja
Cc: Arc. Nemadi Sambo Vice-President of the Federal Republic of
Cc: Senator Smart Adeyemi Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal
Character and Governmental Affairs
Cc: Senator Lee Maeba Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum
Cc: Hon. Samson Osagie Chairman, House Committee on Special Duties
Cc: Prof. H. Assisi Asobie Chairman, NEITI