The alleged case of wrongful dismissal brought against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC by two of its former employees: Juliet Ibekaku, former assistant director, Legal and prosecution and Michael Nzekwe, prosecutor in Legal and Prosecution Department, before Justice Babatunde A. Adejumo of the National Industrial Court, NIC, could not hold on Monday, May 18, 2015 for unstated reasons.
Ibekaku and Nzekwe were dismissed by EFCC for desertion which is a serious offence against discipline going by the provisions of Section 43(e) (i) of the EFCC Staff Regulation which states that, “Any officer who wilfully absents for twenty one (21) consecutive days shall be guilty of the offense of desertion and shall be dismissed from the Commission as a deserter.”
The duo are contesting their dismissal by the Commission which, according did not follow due process. They are praying for an order of the court to reinstate them.
Nzekwe was said to have abandoned his duty post for more than 21 days without authorisation or leave. Upon being queried for absenting himself from work without authorization, the officer claimed he travelled to the United States,” to shop for medical options”, for his wife, Agatha who had an alleged renal challenge and was hospitalized in India.
This information was found to be false, as evidence emerged that Nzekwe went on a pleasure trip to the United States with his two daughters.
On her part, Ibekaku was dismissed after an exhaustive disciplinary process when it emerged that she abandoned her job after she was redeployed to the Legal and Prosecution Department in the Lagos zonal office of the Commission. Following her deployment on 15 November 2013, she reported to her new station for documentation on 21 November, 2013 and left without leave or authorisation
Consequently, she was dismissed on 11 February, 2014, after 81 consecutive days of absence from work for desertion from duty post, contrary to Section 36 (l) (xi) of the EFCC Staff Regulation.
At the last sitting, March 17, 2015, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Abdul Mohammed informed the court that, Ibekaku could not make it to court because she was indisposed as a result of which he sought an adjournment.
On March 18, the first defendant, Head, Human Resources, EFCC, Mrs Ngozi Moses-Saromi who had earlier testified in the matter was cross-examined by Mohammed particularly on Nzekwe’s matter.
Testifying, Moses-Saromi told the court that, the officer was subjected to the internal disciplinary process and appeared before the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee before final decision was taken on him.
The case has been adjourned to May 21, 2015 for continuation of hearing.
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